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What is recreational therapy?

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Medical Professional

Answer transcribed from Brightway's interview with recreational therapist Allison Huck:


In general, recreation therapy, or some people call it therapeutic recreation depending on their preference or the setting, is really just a process of using recreation, leisure, and other activity-based interventions to target the needs of individuals with either illnesses or conditions. The goal is to ultimately increase their level of functioning and independence and promote health and wellness. We typically use activities that are individualized to target social, cognitive, physical, and spiritual needs, specifically in the inpatient rehab setting. 


Recreational therapy is a prescribed service, so that means that it needs a doctor's order. At my job, in particular, I work with individuals after a stroke or brain injury through one-to-one treatment in individualized sessions. Sometimes treatments are done with other therapies: physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, and sometimes even group therapy will also have a role in the community. We facilitate adaptive sports and fitness opportunities, so we're continuing to encourage participation in meaningful activities after discharge.