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What is “Recreational Therapy”?

In addition to being a licensed Hypnotherapist (HP60794159) in the State of Washington, I am a Licensed Recreational Therapist (RE60916468).

Let’s start with what the state says that means:

Recreation therapy means the use of recreational, and/or community activities to include leisure counseling and community integration as treatment intervention to improve functional leisure and community competence of persons with a physical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, or social disability.


The primary purpose of recreation therapy is the use of leisure and community integration activities to restore, remediate, or rehabilitate persons in order to improve functioning and independence, as well as reduce or eliminate the effects of illness or disability.

The occupation of Recreational Therapist is rapidly growing and it has four major approaches and eight domains:

  • Recreation services: Providing recreation services to people with disabilities for experiencing leisure and its benefits, often this takes a rehabilitation tone in approach for helping clients to reach an optimal level of health and well-being.
  • Therapeutic approach: The purpose of this approach is curative in nature. It attempts to lessen and ameliorate the effects of illness’ and disabilities, it also can be prescriptive for improving certain functional capacities.
  • Umbrella or combined approach: Use of recreation as a subjective continuation of enjoyable activities as well as a recreation service for bringing purposeful change.
  • Leisure ability approach: An approach that operates leisure activities therapeutically and engages the clients fully for participation with good dissemination on the benefits of structured leisure/ leisure awareness education.

Eight domains of leisure are: leisure awareness, leisure attitudes, leisure skills, community integration skills, community participation, cultural and social behaviors, interpersonal skills.

In my practice, I utilize the therapeutic approach to Recreational Therapy, as well as the domains of community integration skills, community participation, cultural and social behaviors, and interpersonal skills.  I use Recreational Therapy as a supplemental therapy to the Hypnosis and Behavioral Therapy that I use heavily. I know there are Certified Recreational Therapists out there who have probably forgotten more than I will ever know on the subject and I don’t claim to have their level of knowledge on how to get the most out of this modality.

None the less, I use Recreational Therapist techniques in my practice and there is a lot of overlap with what I do, so having the license makes sense so I keep it all legal and don’t step on any toes.