Location: Indiana, United States

I became a Professor Emeritus after serving 29 years as a recreational therapy faculty member at Indiana University. I'm a long-time Hoosier, having grown up in Hanover, Indiana. My RT practitioner work was in psych/mental health. After completing my Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, my first faculty position was at the University of North Texas. RT has been a wonderful profession for me as I have had the opportunity to serve as an author and national leader.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Recreational Therapy History/Philosophy

I have begun writing a history of ATRA. This process has made me think of the greater history of recreational therapy. While there have been many wonderful contributions to the history of RT by pioneers of our profession, it seems to me that perhaps RT owes more to psychologist Carl Rogers than any single individual.

Rogers has provided many of the core philosophical foundations on which recreational therapy practice rests. RT really began to flourish as a profession following World War II. This is the same time (i.e., 1940s) that Rogers came onto the scene. Thus, his approach to therapy came about at the time that RT was emerging and left a mark on RT practice.

Perhaps the notion of the inherent tendency for personal growth and development is the concept for which Rogers is best known and is a concept embodied in the practice of RT. Much of RT has always been directed to helping clients to remove barriers to self-realization. As Rogers, RTs also help clients take positive actions that decrease the clients' need for help.

For these ideas, I've always liked Rogers' client-centered approach (or person-centered approach as he later termed it) that I believe has had an enormous impact on RT. I think I've also related to Rogers because I happen to share his midwestern background. Born in Oak Park, Illinois (in 1902), he was a "midwestern guy" and a "Big 10 guy," having held faculty positions at Ohio State University and the University of Wisconsin. Even though he died of a heart attack in San Diego in 1987, I believe his influence will always live on in recreational therapy practice.

For more on Carl Rogers and his ideas see the source for some of the information for this post at


Post a Comment

<< Home