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Gain a Holistic View from Therapeutic Recreation

By: Lindsay McKay

Published On: May 28, 2021

A Therapeutic Recreation professional helps a man in a wheelchair

Therapeutic Recreation Overview

What is therapeutic recreation? Therapeutic recreation is a preventative approach towards healthcare that uses a holistic view to recognize the interdependency between different aspects of health and the self. There are five domains of therapeutic recreation that are used to create a holistic approach:

  • Cognitive health
  • Spiritual health
  • Emotional health
  • Physical health
  • Social health

What is a Recreational Therapist?

Recreational therapists are allied health professionals who lead activity-based interventions like art, dance, or sports to address and improve the wellbeing of individuals with illness or disability. The approach has started to expand beyond only people with illness and disability with new models being taught that can be applied to anybody that is looking to improve their quality of life. To become a certified recreational therapist, you must earn a bachelor's degree in recreation, complete a supervised internship with at least 560 practicum hours, and pass a national exam.

Anyone who is in a helping career or just wants to create a higher quality of life for themselves and others in their life, would benefit from taking a therapeutic course through Ashton College and learning how to take a holistic view of life.

Building a Holistic View

The approaches and teachings of therapeutic recreation focus on reinforcing every aspect of the self and increasing the health of the five domains. The model that is beneficial to everyone is the flourishing ability model; it helps people become fully actualized, makes them more confident, and live a greater quality of life. Recreational therapists want their clients to have a better sense of who they are and to remember that while the focus is on leisure recreation, they also look at recreation as the re-creation and redefining of self. The goal is to become empowered by therapeutic recreation and for your client to understand that illness, disability, or lack of accessibility does not have to be their life forever. Therapeutic recreation training will reinforce your zest for life, help you find ways to feel ‘the good’ we are all chasing, and ways to express yourself.

Introduction Course

The Introduction to Therapeutic Recreation Course at Ashton College focuses on helping you understand the helping nature of the service provider role and what the service provider does. Through learning the history and development of the role and how it has become recognized, you will gain a deeper appreciation for the profession. You will also learn how to identify disabilities and barriers for individuals and apply the therapeutic lens, as well as different types of leisure, and the importance of evidence-based models.

Teachings in this course promote diversity, create cultural awareness sensitivity, and cultural humility. These skills are beneficial for anyone in human services, health care, or any human-facing field. Individuals in helping roles will become better team members and practitioners through learning trauma informed and respectful professionalism and discussing various types of team approaches.

Advanced Course

In the Advanced Therapeutic Recreation Course, you will gain a deeper understanding of the profession, therapeutic skills, and the actual therapeutic recreational process. Learn the teachings of the leisure ability model to the flourishing ability model, gain confidence around each individual component that a recreational therapist does, and the APIED (assess, plan, implement, evaluate, and document) process.

All teachings will have an emphasis on the importance of professional judgment and the ethics of therapeutic recreation. Recreational therapists, and others who employ therapeutic recreational techniques, do both one-on-one and group sessions and need a strong understanding of purposeful modalities and facilitation techniques. We want to ensure you have strong group facilitation skills, interpersonal skills, and a good working command of group dynamics with the ability to work with a group in a respectful way that encourages engagement.

You need to start somewhere, and these courses are a great way to learn processes, get your foot wet into what this profession can look like, and how it can help you in your daily life.


The information contained in this post is considered true and accurate as of the publication date. However, the accuracy of this information may be impacted by changes in circumstances that occur after the time of publication. Ashton College assumes no liability for any error or omissions in the information contained in this post or any other post in our blog


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