RT Blog

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.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Response to Skalko Regarding ARTA

Thom Skalko is an ATRA Past President and an ATRA Distinguished Fellow. Many of you no doubt saw Thom's comment regarding ATRA becoming ARTA. He favors the change to ARTA.

In Thom's comment he mentions it was over a decade ago when we first discussed the change to ARTA. Ironically, the name change was brought up for a vote 10 years ago at the site of this year's Annual Conference, Orlando. As I recall, the vote was over 50% in favor of the name change to the American Recreational Therapy Association (ARTA). But I believe it takes a 2/3's majority to make a name change so no change was made.

In his comment Thom suggested that I bring the ARTA name change up in Orlando at the 2006 Annual coming up in a few weeks. Unfortunately, I am now retired and will not be attending. So I hope that Thom or others will raise the issue.

And, finally, I'll buy into Thom's notion that we use American Recreational Therapy Association as our new title. While I personally favor the expression Recreation Therapy, I am glad to give in to Thom on this one and hope there will be movement toward making ATRA ARTA.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Pictures Needed for ATRA Archives

I chair ATRA's Library/Archives/Historian Committee. Recently I prepared the 2005-06 annual report for the committee. Doing this reminded me that ATRA is seeking pictures from members for the ATRA Archives.

If you have any pictures taken of ATRA members at ATRA conferences or other events, please consider contributing them to the ATRA Archives. You can do this by two means. One would be to scan the pictures and submit them as an attachment to the ATRA Office. The email address is national@atra-tr.org

The other means to submit pictures is the old fashioned way of mailing them to the ATRA Office. The address is: ATRA, 1414 Prince Street, Suite 204, Alexandria, VA 22314.

I hope you will choose to take a few minutes to dig out old ATRA photos and send them to the ATRA Office. When you do, please indicate the names of those in each picture, where it was taken, and when it was taken (e.g., Joan & David Austin at 1995 ATRA Annual in Orlando).

Monday, August 14, 2006

Positive Psychology Books You Should Know About

As mentioned in my last post, my wife and I just returned from the APA Conference held in New Orleans. One of the things I really enjoy about the APA Conference is visiting the exhibit area and going through the book publishers' booths. Needless to say, we probably ended up buying too many books -- but there were many more that I would have liked to have purchased.

I may mention some other titles in future posts, but for now, let me talk about one book I found. It is Quality of Life Therapy: Applying a Life Satisfaciton Approach to Positive Psychology and Cognitive Therapy, published in 2006 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. The author is Michael B. Frisch. The book uses positive psychology as a springboard for applying quality of life techniques. I think RTs will like the book because it provides both theory and practical information. By the way, it is a large book but is out in paperback.

While on positive psychology books, there is a new paperback book out by Chirstopher Peterson titled, A Primer in Positive Psychology. The book deals with applying positive psychology. I have not seen it but it has received rave reviews on the web site "Coaching Towards Happiness." If you want to read what is said about the book, the address of that web site is ben@coachingtowardhappiness.com

New Orleans Is Coming Back -- Visit If You Can

My wife and I last week were in New Orleans for the American Psychological Association (APA) Conference. The downtown area, its hotels, and French Quarter have come back strong a year after Katrina. There is no reason not to visit New Orleans and to enjoy those parts of the city that most of us are familiar with from our prior conference attendance. It is a real shame that some organizations have concelled conferences originally scheduled for New Orleans. There is absolutely no reason not to hold conferences in the city.

APA is to be commended for keeping their conference in New Orleans as a way to show support for the city. I hope other organizations will follow APA's lead. The city is coming back and needs everyone's support at this time.

APA held two performances to benefit Katrina causes. On Friday, we were treated to a show by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. It was wonderful. On Saturday, Bill Cosby performed. He gave an excellent show. He is 69 and still going strong. Dr. Phil also gave a talk. He explained how his TV show came about and how it is conducted. I was interested to learn that all who appear on his show have follow-up from psychologists or other mental health professions. I must admit that I had new found respect for Dr. Phil and what he is doing as a result of hearing his talk. By the way, the night before Dr. Phil, and several of his friends from the world of entertainment, gave a special benefit performance for first responders from New Orleans.

Of course, the devastation from Katrina is still too apparent in many of the residential areas of New Orleans. My sister-in-law and her family had their house distroyed by the flood -- but they plan to rebuild. The people of New Orleans have a great spirit about them and are working to make their city even better than it was before Katrina. It makes you feel good to see businesses with "We're Back!" signs proudly posted on their buildings.

I hope all RTs will think about ways to support the rebuilding efforts by the people of New Orleans. Our visit made us realize just how important that support is to those who live there.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Medspeak Brochures Available at MLA Web Site

The Medical Library Association is making the language of health professionals available to all through MLA's brochures on "Deciphering Medspeak." RT practitioners may wish to refer to the online brochures to better understand medical terms. RT professors may wish to make their students aware of the brochures.

To access the "Medspeak" brochures go to the MLA web site. The address for the MLA web site is www.mlanet.org

When you get on the MLA web site, click on the 4th item listed on the MLA home page titled "Disease-specific Medspeak Brochures." This will take you to a page titled "MLA's Deciphering Medspeak Brochures." There you will see "Medspeak Terms." Click on it to see the list of medical terms defined.

In addition to the general list of "Medspeak Terms," on the same page (titled "MLA's Deciphering Medspeak Brochures") are listed three "Deciphering Medspeak" brochures covering the topics of breast cancer, diabeties, and heart disease. Finally, a short list of selected medical abbreviations may be accesssed off the page from the button "Rx Riddles Solved!"

An alternative source for learning the language and abbreviations of health professions is my Glossary of Recreation Therapy and Occupational Therapy published in 2001 by Venture Publishing. The Glossary sells for $14.95 and may be obtained through Venture Publishing at http://www.venturepublish.com

Monday, August 07, 2006

Lee Meyer's Writings were Prophetic

Those who did not know Lee Meyer missed something. Lee provided much leadership for RT back in the 1970s and 1980s while a faculty member at Chapel Hill. In those days, I spent several evenings drinking beer with Lee and discussing RT philosophy -- which both of us loved to do. I no longer drink but it is the times with Lee that I really miss, not the beer.

Lee was prophetic in his writing about the future of the profession and the eventual development of ATRA. In his 1980 paper titled "Philosophical Alternatives and the Professionalization of Therapeutic Recreation" he wrote about NTRS and the difficulities it faced:

"The dual representation of therapists and special recreators by NTRS seems to present some ideological as well as practical difficulities. Ideologically, this position suggests that therapeutic recreation is not an occupation, per se, but rather it is make up of two or more occupational specialities which seems to imply that therapeutic recreation is a "field." This same position also seems to suggest that the uniqueness of therapeutic recreation is not so much in what it provides or how it is provided, but to whom it is provided" (i.e., persons with disabilities).

Lee went on:
"From a practical and realistic viewpoint, should NTRS (therapeutic recreation) attempt to represent two cadres of practitioners, each with different immediate service purpose and each practicing their specialty in quite disparate agencies?"

Finally, he stated:
"Some might argue that there are not two cadres of practitiones, only one--therapeutic recreation. To reason in this fashion is to ignore the obvious differences between these two subspecializations in regard to purpose, work setting, accountability, structure, etc. Therapists and special recreators function in different worlds. Given such significant differences it is only a matter of time...when one or the other of these specializations seeks their independence from the other" (pp. 40-41).

Lee was prophetic as ATRA was formed in 1984 by a group of clinicians-- just four years after his words were published. Unfortunately, ATRA has, to date, failed to really embrace its therapy roots by adopting the term recreation therapy (or recreational therapy) in the title of the association. Isn't it time to do so?

Friday, August 04, 2006

Jobs: Act Now if Interested

Both Logansport State Hospital (Logansport, Indiana) and Madison State Hospital (Madison, Indiana) have openings for Rehabilitation Therapists 4. These positions require a B.S. in RT or TR. The positions need to be applied for through a State Job Bank but information on the positions and how to apply may be obtained from the personnel departments of the hospitals. The number at Logansport State Hospital is 574.722.4141. For Madison State Hospital call 812.265.26ll.

Those interested should act quickly. The Logansport position will remain posted for application until August 9th. The Madison position was to close August 6th but RT staff at Madison have asked for an extension.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

DE Class from Pittsburg State University

I just received an announcement of a new distance education course from Professor Chuck Killingsworth of Pittsburg State University. It is HPER 470, "Assessment and Documentation in TR." Interested individuals can go to the PSU webpage (www.pittstate.edu), click on "Prospective Students" and follow the instructions. For further information, the email address for Professor Killingsworth is ckilling@pittstate.edu