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7 joys for being a recreational therapist

joys for being a recreational therapist (picture/ logo)

7 Joys for Being a Recreational Therapist — summarized by Danny Pettry, M.Ed., LPC, NCC, CTRS-BHS

I attended a workshop by Jessica Hewitt, M.Ed., LPC, NCC regarding self-care on January 10th, 2019 in Huntington, West Virginia (as part of the Continuing Education Alliance).

Hewitt’s session was geared towards mental health counselors.

She presented a section that outlined joys of being a counselor.


I took seven of those “joys” and changed them to joys for being a Recreational Therapist.

7 Joys for Being a Recreational Therapist

  1. Identity:

Many Recreational therapists identify themselves by their professional title. “I’m a Recreational Therapist.” Some recreational therapists see their work as a greater calling or a life purpose.


  1. Status:

Some Recreational therapists complain that they don’t feel high status compared to other occupations. Recreational therapists do have status. Recreational Therapy is an occupation that is listed in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, published by the U.S. Dept. of Labor. Recreational therapists with the (Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist) have a least a Bachelor’s degree, internship training, and have passed a written exam.


  1. Income:

Our profession pays us to do our work. Our income varies from one state to another state and from one setting to another setting. Most recreational therapists earn a living through their position. Their employment earnings is how they survive.


  1. Growth:

We, Recreational Therapists, grow in our work. We learn by teaching. We learn as we gain more experience. Every person tells a story. We learn from our clients who share their personal experiences. We learn from our colleagues. We’re not the same as we were the day before from our growth.


  1. Bond:

Recreational Therapists, like other human service professions create a bond with our clients/ patients. We provide a therapeutic relationship for patients that is warm, validating, caring, and unconditional. The therapeutic relationship is one of the key factors in influencing change. Many survivors attribute their survival to feeling like they had at least one person who cared. Recreational Therapists can very easily “be the one.”


  1. Change makers:

We are advocates for our profession, for people with all kinds of different needs, and for increasing opportunities. We’re a newer profession compared to many other more established professionals. Many of the things we’re doing in Rec Therapy is cutting-edge. We’re ahead of the curve in using a holistic approach to healing.


  1. Immortality:

The truth is that we all die one day. However, our impact as Recreational Therapists on patients and clients live on. By doing an amazing job, we become immortal in a way. We develop strong meaningful relationships that impact people/ clients. We teach skills. Our clients may in turn teach those skills to their families and friends. It is like a Pay-it-Fwd. approach.

Of course, this is not an all-encompassing list.

Post other joys of being a recreational therapist below in the comments section below: