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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Groups Book

I recently ran across a book that should be of interest to RTs who work with groups. It is Small Groups in Counseling and Therapy: Process and Leadership now in its 4th edition. The author is Barbara W. Posthuma. This edition was published by Allyn and Bacon in 2002.

I plan to cite information from Posthuma's book in the 6th edition of my Therapeutic Recreation Processes and Techniques book. But those wishing detailed information on group practice should read Small Groups in Counseling and Therapy.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

ATRA Newsletter Now Online

The ATRA Newsletter is now online. To retrieve it go to www.atra-tr.org/members/newsletter.htm

The September/October issue of the Newsletter contains a number of interesting items. Here are some of them:

* President Marica Smith has a "President's Message" in which she encourages all ATRA members to be involved in membership recruitment.

* There is a well prepared article by Deborah Hutchins on internship supervision.

* Jo Lewis has an interesting article on sensory stimulation for older adults with cognitive impairments.

*There is a story on the project, lead by Ray West, to update ATRA's Guidelines for Competency Assessment and Curriculum Planning.

*There are news items including Marjorie Malkin making presentations in Ireland and Heewon Yang giving talks in Taiwan and Korea. Both Marjorie and Heewon are RT
professors at SIU.

*And there is a reminder of the call for presentations for the ATRA Annual Conference to be held next fall in Reno.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Interesting Book on Empathy

In doing work to prepare for writing a 6th edition of Therapeutic Recreation Processes and Techniques I ran across a throught provoking book on empathy and mental heatlh treatment. It takes a humanistic approach that fits nicely with RT practice. I would commend it to any RT or RT educator with an interest in mental health care.

The book's title is The Empathic Healer: An Endangered Species? Harvard professor Michael J. Bennett, M.D. is the author. The book was published in 2001 by Academic Press.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Florida Seemingly Lacking Professional Prep Programs

I just read an article that identified the best cities for job growth. One-half of the cities listed were in Florida -- Cape Coral, Naples, Sarasota, Port St. Locie, and Ocala.

Yet, it seems to me that there are few universities in the state of Florida with RT professional preparation programs. Certainly Florida lacks well known university RT professional prep programs. This seems a shame. I wonder if anything can be done to build RT in higher education in Florida?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Virtues of Wisdom and Daring

In his inaugural speech, President McRobbie of Indiana University quoted Winston Churchill as saying, “We must strive to combine the virtues of wisdom and of daring. We must move forward together, united and inexorable.” I think this quote can be applied to RT.

We RTs need to unite and to dare in order to re-dedicate ourselves in support of our profession. In doing so, we have to rely on our wisdom to move our profession toward the highest quality in everything we do.

I would suggest two steps that may assist us in our forward movement: (1) To continue to build our national organization, ATRA, through our contributions of time and money;(2) To strengthen our professional preparation programs by reforming curriculum and enhancing the quality of faculty. In addition, I think we need to dare to change the name of our professional organization to ARTA to better reflect our concerns for clinical practice and health care.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Today is an RT's Birthday

October 16th is someone's birthday. Want to guess who?

American Association on Health and Disability

I am on the mailing list of the AAHD. While I know little about the organization, it seems to be one that RTs could related to.

Here is information from the AAHD website:

The mission of AAHD is to contribute to national, state, and local efforts to prevent additional health complications in people with disabilities, and to identify effective intervention strategies to reduce the incidence of secondary conditions and the health disparities between people with disabilities and the general population. AAHD accomplishes its mission through research, education and advocacy.

AAHD Vision
AAHD is dedicated to the advancement of theory, knowledge and practice in the prevention of secondary disabling conditions and promotion of health and wellness for people with disabilities.

AAHD’s method includes professional and public education, advocacy efforts, and expansion of public awareness on issues related to the prevention of impairments and disabilities. In addition, AAHD plans to 1) establish a national clearinghouse for ideas, information and resources, 2) create an intramural and extramural program of research and development, 3) develop a newsletter for consumers and professionals, and 4) maintain a program of workshops and conferences in order to disseminate new and emerging information about the prevention of additional health complications and health promotion and wellness initiatives for persons with disabilities.

This vision will be accomplished through:

The endeavors of its members at the federal, state and community levels;
A process of continuous information gathering and dissemination;
A commitment to better health services and improved quality of life for persons with disabilities.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Call for Presentations from Cincy/Dayton Chapter

Mike Sutherland, M.Ed., CTRS, has distributed the following announcement:

Please consider presenting at the Annual CDARTA Workshop which will be held on May 9, 2008 in Centerville, OH. This one-day event will typically draw 150 CTRS's, students, and educators. As a presenter, you will get your registration fee waived for the day (CEU fee still applies if you need CEUs).

If you are unable to present, please forward this information to someone else who may be interested. Remember, presenting is a great way to earn CEUs for NCTRC (presenters receive two contact hours for each hour presented!).

A Call for Presentations form follows. Please return it no later than December 1, 2007.

2008 CDARTA Spring Workshop
Call for Presentations

The 2008 CDARTA Workshop will be held on Friday, May 9, 2008 at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Centerville, OH.

Personal Information




Phone Number:

Session Proposal

Title of Session: Limit of 12 words

Session Description: Limit of 40 words

Learning Outcomes: At least three outcomes stated in measurable terms

Mode of Presentation: For example, lecture, discussion, interactive, etc

Knowledge Areas: See http://nctrc.org/documents/5JobAnalysis.pdf and pick at least one of the “Knowledge Areas” which is relevant to your presentation

Session Length: 90 or 60 minutes

Audio/Visual Equipment Needed: For example, PowerPoint Projector, overhead projector, TV, etc. (CDARTA DOES NOT PROVIDE COMPUTERS)

Limit to number of participants: Not necessary, but please indicate if your session will need to be limited to a certain number of participants

Speakers: Please include name(s), credentials, e-mail(s)

Professional vitae of Biographical summary for each speaker: Summary will be included in workshop program

Please submit this completed proposal as a Microsoft Word attachment via e-mail to:
mail@cdarta.com by December 1, 2008. Notification of accepted proposals will be sent via e-mail.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Marjorie Malkin to Ireland

Professor Marjorie Malkin of Southern Illinois University will be going to Ireland next month where she will be consulting to build RT efforts in that country. Marjorie has been active in ATRA's international relations efforts over the years.

ATRA Distinguished Fellows to be on Website

ATRA Board Member Mary Ann Aquadro recently informed me that pictures and bios of all ATRA Distinguished Fellows will soon be posted on the ATRA website. I'll let you know when these are up.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Leadership ATRA has Openings -- This is a Great Opportunity

Leadership ATRA offers ATRA members a great opportunity to develop themselves as leaders. G.T. Thompson designed this exceptional program and coordinates it. I strongly recommend it as a wonderful growth opportunity. Here is information distributed by ATRA on Leadership ATRA:

The 2008 LEADERSHIP ATRA Class will begin in November 2007 and conclude in
September 2008. ATRA LEADERSHIP brings together a mix of existing and
emerging leaders with diverse backgrounds and experiences and from the
American Therapeutic Recreation Association membership. These individuals
have demonstrated the talent and desire to serve the Association through
their work with ATRA Chapters, Teams or Treatment Networks. Through active
participation in a succession of teleconference and onsite program days,
participants become more aware of the dynamics of the American Therapeutic
Recreation Associations organizational structure and operations and the
potential impact on our membership.

Participants engage in monthly teleconference sessions on specific topics:
Association's mission, vision and values; history of ATRA; organizational
structure; strategic planning; budget and finances; Board of Director
responsibilities / operations; professional staff responsibilities /
national office operations; communications; governmental relations and
advocacy; networks and coalition building; continuous quality improvement
processes and emerging issues. Onsite sessions are hosted in March and the
Fall Annual Conference, which allow an in-depth exploration of leadership,
teamwork and problem-solving skills.
Approximately 18 CEUs are issued for participants.
The tuition has not been finalized but is projected at $325. Each
participant is also required to attend a March on-site Class at the
Office in Alexandria, Virgina and the 2008 Fall ATRA Annual Conference.
Travel and conference registration is not included in the Leadership ATRA
tuition. Applications can be faxed to my attention.
My fax number is 570-546-4045. Please feel free to call me with any
questions that you might have at 570-546-4019.
I hope that you will consider participating in this exciting opportunity!

G.T. Thompson
LEADERSHIP ATRA Program Coordinator

Thursday, October 04, 2007

ATRA's Top 20 Successes

A couple of years ago I developed a list of "ATRS's Top 20 Successes." At the risk of repeating myself, I'd like to share that list with you now. Here it is:

ATRA’s Top 20 successes:

1. Curriculum Conference in Minneapolis in 1995 that lead to the publication (1997) of Guidelines for Competency Assessment and Curriculum Planning in Therapeutic Recreation.

2. Publication of the Annual in Therapeutic Recreation.

3. Development and implementation of ATRF and the ATRF research grant program.

4. Establishing the ATRA Executive Director position and the hiring, in 1994, of Ann Huston.

5. Establishing the ATRA Office in the Washington, DC, area.

6. Establishing the Peg Connolly Scholars program to involve TR students in the Annual Conference.

7. Establishing the ATRA CEU program to assist professionals with the documentation of CEUs.

8. Provision of yearly ATRA Annual Conference and Mid-Year Issues Forum.

9. Establishing the ATRA Library and Archives.

10. Holding the first International Institute on Therapeutic Recreation during the 2000 Annual Conference in Cincinnati.

11. Developing and annual updating of ATRA’s Strategic Plan to guide the association.

12. Establishing the publication program to bring professional literature to the membership, including cooperation with Venture Publishing.

13. Establishing the ATRA Chapters program.

14. Establishing the Treatment Networks to facilitate communications and networking.

15. Establishing a strong public policy program, including hiring a legislative counsel and initiating the “Day on the Hill” program.

16. Regular publication of the ATRA Newsletter to keep members informed on issues and activities.

17. Use of technology to enhance communications (e.g., ATRA web site, email distribution lists, etc.).

18. Development of a Policies and Procedures Manual to guide the Association’s activities.

19. Provision of continuing education opportunities for members through the teleconference program, Annual in TR, workshops, and other means.

20. Provision of the ATRA awards program to acknowledge and celebrate achievements by ATRA members, chapters, and universities.

Do you have any to add? If so, please comment.

A Shift for RTs and QOL Enhancement

The acceptance by society and RTs of clients in "impaired roles," rather than "sick roles," in my opinion is coming slowly. Yet, helping clients to deal with chronic illnesses (i.e., in impaired roles)is an area in which RTs should take the lead.

Schirm (2002) has written: “The increased number of Americans who are living with chronic disabling conditions has shifted the emphasis from a health care system focused solely on cure and length and quantity of life to enhancement of the quality of life.” (p.181)

I think Schirm has it exactly right. RTs should be leading the shift in health care toward the enhancement of the quality of life.

If you want to read more from Schirm, the reference is: Schirm, V. (2002). Quality of life. In I.M. Lubkin, & P.D. Larsen. Chronic illness: Impact and interventions (5th edition). Boston: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, pp.181-201.)

RTI Annual Conference Nov. 8 & 9

The Annual Conference of the Recreation Therapists of Indiana will be held at the
Waterbird Inn and Conference Center, Chesterton, Indiana, November 8th – 9th, 2007.

For pre-registration information go to the RTI website at http://www.rtindiana.com/

12 "Warning Signs" of Health

The 12 Warning Signs of Health

1. Persistent presence of support network.

2. Chronic positive expectations; tendency to frame events in constructive light.

3. Episodic peak experiences.

4. Sense of spiritual involvement.

5. Increased sensitivity.

6. Tendency to adapt to changing conditions.

7. Rapid response and recovery of adrenaline system due to repeated challenges.

8. Increased appetite for physical activity.

9. Tendency to identify and communicate feelings.

10. Repeated episodes of gratitude and generosity or related emotions.

11. Compulsion to contribute to society.

12. Persistent sense of humor.

From: Nathan, A.A. (2003). The art of recreation therapy: Using activities as assessment tools. San Francisco: Study Center Press, p. 39. (Original source listed as: Collected from bulletin board, Waldport, Ore: author unknown).

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

VA RT Position Opening in Ohio

This job posting from Annette Roth, CTRS,Recreation Therapist (117,VA Medical Center.
17273 State Route 104, Chillicothe, Ohio 45601; Phone(740) 773-1141 (x7423):

Our Human Resources have given less than 2 weeks to apply. Please follow the link below to usajobs.

It’s up on USAJOBS as of this am. Please pardon the misspelling of “council” in nctrc. I am so grateful to see it posted nationally. Our Human Resources is not giving much time to respond--Applications needs to be received by our Human Resources Service by October 15, 2007.


VAMC Chillicothe is a campus style facility with a 9-hole golf course and therapeutic w/c accessible pool.

FYI—Chillicothe (the Shawnee Indian word for town) was the first and third capitols of Ohio. It is located 50 miles south of Columbus, and100 miles NE of Cincinnati. It is the County Seat for Ross County which is one of the largest counties in Ohio—much agriculture and several State Parks and a National Park. Cost of living is lower in this rural area as compared to the Northeast Urban Areas.

Job Opening in Denver

Michelle Reilly, CTRS, recently informed me that the Adult Day Program (KADEP)at the Rocky Mountain MS Center has an opening. It is for a full-time TR position working M-F 8-4 in the adult day program with people with MS and TBI. Those interested may email a copy of their resume to pbreese@mscenter.org

On Getting Hired Fast

From careerbuilder.com comes an article by Mark Krajnik, CEO of Next Level Solutions, titled "Four Ways to Get Hired Faster." I think RT students and professionals can benefit from it so I am sharing parts of the article in this post. I have slightly revised the information to fit RTs. Here it is:

If you want the job, you must be certain they know it. Let's explore four sure-fire ways to move a hiring process forward as quickly as the company will allow:

1. Provide detailed information & professional references up front.

Supply all required information.

Be aware of the common candidate red flags and answer the questions before they're asked.

Have three to five professional references up front to validate your background and experience. Do NOT ever list references available upon request. The hiring person does not want to go to the trouble of the extra step of obtaining your references -- especially when other applicants have provided their references.

Whenever possible, provide a recent manager, peer and subordinate to give the most complete picture of your abilities to the new company.

2. Attitude is everything.

RTs need to be positive people. Bring a positive, high energy attitude on every interview. There is no room for a negative presence in an organization. Once you have given that impression, it most likely will not go away.

Be positive and proactive, and close each step of the process with enthusiasm. "I'm very interested in learning more about this exciting opportunity. What's the next step?"

3. Research the organization & prepare for the interview.

Get your facts and figures straight. Nothing is more impressive than knowing the inner workings, products, people, mission, vision and goals of an organization.

Realize that your interviewing skills and your ability to perform the job are two very different things. You'll need both to get the offer.

Write out questions that you need answers to before accepting an offer.

Role-play your responses to standard and behavioral-based interview questions.

Thoroughly review the organization's Web site and any recent articles written by its leaders.

4. Immediate, professional follow up.

Be certain they know you're interested. As soon as it is possible, send a handwritten thank-you note and a personalized e-mail message to every person with whom you interviewed.

The written word has somehow gotten lost in the electronic age. Differentiate yourself and send a note card in the mail either that same day or the next day.

Avoid a "cookie-cutter" e-mail, and take the time to personalize each message to the team that interviewed you.