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Tips on being therapeutic:

People who go into careers like recreational therapy are typically well-suited for being therapeutic.

Therapeutic approach is like second nature for most recreational therapists.

We, recreational therapists may work with Direct Care Providers or Mental Health Specialists who may not be familiar with therapeutic approaches.

People in these positions might say, “But I’m not a therapist.”

A quick response is: you don’t have to be a therapeutic.  


Humanistic approach is therapeutic:

Carl Rogers is one of the founders of humanistic psychology.

Rogers believed in a non-directive in his approach.

Practitioners using the humanistic approach work to build and maintain a therapeutic relationship.

Many types of caring professional use this approach, including: counselors, social workers, teachers, and those of us working as recreational therapists.

 Three principles for therapeutic relationship 

Rogers taught these principles for a therapeutic relationship:

  1. Being real and congruent. Don’t put on a fake expression.
  2. Warm, empathetic listening. Really pay attention to the person.
  3. Unconditional positive regard. Accept the person no matter what.

Elements for therapeutic change:

Does a humanistic approach work? Is there evidence?

Michelle Thomas (2006, March 24) argues that the relationship counts for 30% of success in a helping a person to make positive changes.

Other aspects of therapeutic change include:

  • The model or technique used counts for 15% of change.
  • A person’s extra therapeutic factors count for 40% of change.
  • A person belief in change (expectancy) counts for 15% of change.


In the long run, the best we can do is to establish a therapeutic relationship with the patient, client, or student.


  • Warm
  • Caring
  • Friendly
  • Forgiving
  • Authentic
  • Empathetic
  • Considerate
  • Non-Judgmental

Are you the kind of rec therapist who loves learning and growing? If so — check out our self-study continuing education courses.

Click here to visit online course library