Imagine the poss-ABILITIES! Therapeutic Recreation: An Integral Aspect of Whole-Person Health Care

Main Article Content

Erica Botner


The word recreation is really a very beautiful word. It is defined in the dictionary as “the process of giving new life to something, of refreshing something, of restoring something.” This something, of course, is the whole person. (Bruno Hans Geba)

Background: The purpose of Therapeutic Recreation is to enable all individuals to improve quality of life, and achieve optimal health through meaningful experiences in recreation and leisure. We believe in the inherent capacities of individuals for wellness, personal growth, happiness and freedom, with or without absence of disease.  Therapeutic Recreation is a profession which provides service to, and advocates for individuals with disabilities, illnesses, and other conditions in clinical, community and educational settings. We recognize that everyone has the right to have access to and experience the healing benefits from recreation and leisure opportunities. Therapeutic Recreation follows a systematic process of developing a therapeutic relationship, assessment, goal setting, program development, implementation through individual and group facilitation, documentation and evaluation. Programs are designed based on the strengths, interests and needs of the participants and promote improving wellness within the physical, emotional, spiritual, behavioural and social domains (according to the participant and their context) and to educate individuals about the skills and resources required to participate in recreation and leisure. We use evidence-based practice to create outcome-based interventions suitable to the participant’s abilities.

Content: Presentation will be descriptive, drawing attention to the profession of Therapeutic Recreation and how it fits well with the whole person approach.

Evidence: Current research indicates a significant number of positive health outcomes resulting from participation in Therapeutic Recreation programs such as: improved physical, cognitive, social and emotional functioning; leisure and life skill development to enhance functional independence; self worth, and quality of life of individuals and their families; adjustment to disability and/or illness and post-traumatic growth; reduced boredom, stress, anxiety, and agitation; reduced decline in physical, cognitive, and psychosocial functioning and as a result reduce the need for health care services; reduced secondary disability and associated higher health care costs.

Conclusion: There is strong evidence that Therapeutic Recreation interventions are healing, support wholeness, and can have a major positive impact in the outcomes of people served. Thus, Therapeutic Recreation should be an integral part of any multi-disciplinary health care team that uses a whole-person care approach.

Article Details

How to Cite
Botner, E. (2014). Imagine the poss-ABILITIES! Therapeutic Recreation: An Integral Aspect of Whole-Person Health Care. The International Journal of Whole Person Care, 1(1).
Congress 2013