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.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

RT Blog had First "Birthday" in April

The RT Blog has now been in existence for over a year. It was initiated in April of 2006. The RT Blog exists to share information and opinions about RT and to allow readers to comment on posts. With this post, the RT Blog has had 200 posts!

Thanks to each of you who regularly read the RT Blog.

ATRA By-Laws Motion Withdrawn

ATRA just sent out the following news release:

(Alexandria, VA) ATRA President Sandra K. Negley has announced the withdrawal of the motion to amend the Association’s By-laws. President Negley informed the ATRA Board of Directors that Dr. Frank M. Brasile, the original motioner, has provided written notice to withdraw the motion as made during the ATRA Membership Meeting on September 15, 2006 in Orlando, FL.

In his written notice, Dr. Brasile has requested and received approval by the ATRA Board of Directors to form a task force among the ATRA Past President’s Council to further study the issue of the By-Laws amendment, including the impact of such an amendment on the organization both structurally and financially. Dr. Brasile is currently forming the task force that will address the By-Laws amendment which will report directly to the ATRA Past President’s Council and the ATRA Board of Directors.

The original motion, made by Dr. Brasile in September 2006 stated:

To change the Association’s by laws:

Proposal to change Article 1-Name

The name of this organization is the American Therapeutic Recreation Association, hereinafter called ATRA or the Association.

Proposed change to read Article 1- Name

The name of this organization is the American Recreational Therapy Association, hereinafter called ARTA or the Association.

(Please note -- this is post 199 on the RT Blog.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Healthy Ideas to Manage Life's Challenges

Healthy Ideas to Manage Life's Challenges
(Information that may be of help to RTs and to share with their clients)

When we're trying to manage life's stressors, how we deal with these challenges can positively or negatively impact our mental health and our overall health and well-being. Here are some ideas to manage life's challenges:

Relax your mind. You can relax by listening to soothing music, reading a book or doing a quiet activity. Also think about deep breathing, yoga, or meditation.

Exercise. Exercising relieves your tense muscles, improves your mood and sleep, and increases your energy and strength.

Connect with others. Talking to a trusted friend, family member, support group or counselor can make you feel better.Get enough rest. Getting enough sleep helps you recover from the stresses of the day. Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.

Help others. Helping others builds social networks, improves self-esteem and can give you a sense of purpose and achievement.

Know your limits. If you're overwhelmed at home or work, or with friends, learn how to say "no."

Keep a journal. Writing down your thoughts can be a great way to work through issues. You can also track your sleep to help you identify any triggers that make you feel more anxious.

Watch your negative self-talk. Try not to put yourself down. For example, if you don't make it to the gym this week, don't call yourself lazy.

Get involved in spiritual activities. Studies have shown that religious involvement and spirituality are associated with better health outcomes, such as greater! coping skills, less anxiety and a lower risk of depression.Write down three good things that happen to you each day for a week. Thinking about the good things in your life and expressing gratitude may actually help you feel happier.

(From the "Mental Health Minute" published by Mental Health America of Greater Indianapolis, June, 2007)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

RT Educators Lack Confidence and Optimism

I just completed reading Jan Walker’s book titled Control and the Psychology of Health that came out in 2001. It is a wonderful resource and should be recommended reading for all RTs – and especially those who are RT faculty.

Walker provides a comprehensive look at concepts related to control and then, in the final chapter, proposes a new model for the concept of control. As I read the last chapter, I could not but help think of how Walker’s ideas related to RT – and, specifically, to RT curriculum development (or the lack thereof).

Some of Walker’s propositions in the chapter on a unifying theory of control are:

*Control reflects the attainment of desired outcomes in a given situation.
*Perceived control normally reflects actual control, though illusions of control may occur under normal conditions by chance. It is also influenced by past history of control and lack of control.
*Perceived uncertainty and perceived unpredictability are sufficient but not necessary conditions for perceived uncontrollability.
*Perceived control is associated with confidence and optimism.
*Perceived uncertainty and unpredictability are associated with anxiety.
*Perceived personal control and perceived social support should be viewed as complementary variables in relation to control.
*Personal control is preferable to social support, since it is more reliable and sustainable.

Control is something that most RTs try to foster in their clients. While RTs attempt to help clients to gain social skills (that may translate to building social support), much of the focus of interventions is on helping clients to develop personal control so they may rely on themselves. Yet, RT educators have not chosen to take personal control in their own lives -- at least as their lives relate to RT curriculum and what they teach their students.

Educators have failed to establish strong national standards for RT curricula. In relating the concept of control to RT curriculum, I observe a lack of perceived control on the part of RT educators.

It is my view that RT educators have not perceived themselves to truly be in control of RT curriculum. They have not believed that their profession was separate from parks, recreation, and leisure curricula and, therefore, have not felt in control of the RT curriculum. Efforts to gain control typically have lead to uncertainty with resulting feelings of anxiety – and for some depression. In the end, the outcome has been ensuring inactivity.

The lack of success in curriculum reform has produced uncertainty and unpredictability about the future -- and a lack of confidence and optimism on the parts of many. I can attest that a large number of RTs and RT educators are "turned off" by the lack of progress on RT curriculum reform. They are exasperated. They lack confidence in leaders to move forward. Some feel helpless or even hopeless.

What can be done to remedy the situation? It seems to me that the first thing is for RT educators to recognize that RT is a unique profession (separate from parks, recreation, and leisure), that requires a specific preparation. Once this step is taken, RT educators can assume personal control or responsibility for RT curricula. They can then join with practitioners to move RT curriculum reform forward.

If RT educators choose not to “own” their profession of RT and to rely on others outside of their profession to control curricular decisions, then feelings of anxiety, helplessness, hopelessness, and depression will continue. It will be only when RT educators are willing to assume personal control for RT curricula that they will be able to move forth with confidence and optimism.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

SE TR Symposium Program is Outstanding

I just received an announcment for the Southeast Therapeutic Recreation Symposium to be held in Duluth, Georgia, July 18 - 20, 2007. While a regional conference, the program appears to be on a par with most national RT conferences.

The outstanding list of speakers includes a number of nationally known figures. Among those speaking are Thom Skalko, Carmen Russoniello, Ray West, Pam Wilson, Gene Hayes, Peg Connolly, Wayne Pollock, Janet Funderburk, Susan McGhree, Tom McPike, and Al Kaye.

The conference hotel will be the Atlanta Marriott Gwinnett Place in Duluth, Georgia, with rooms at the conference rate of $108 plus tax per night (800-236-0370). The preregistration cost is $185 for professionals and $105 for students. CEUs will be available for a $15 processing fee. Registration is being handled by Pam Wilson of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center Recreation Therapy Department, Medical Center Blvd, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1110. Phone 336-716-6778. Email pwilson@wfubmc.edu

Madison RT Workshop Coming Up in June

A reminder that the Madison RT Workshop will be held on the grounds of Madison State Hospital in Madison, Indiana, June 7 and 8, 2007. The city of Madison is located on the Ohio River in southeastern Indiana. Madison is a charming city filled with beautiful homes and pubic buildings.

There is no registration fee for members of the Recreation Therapists of Indiana and ATRA CEUs will be available for the processing fee of $10.00. While those attending may sign-in at the door, preregistration is encouraged.

Please contact Debbie Leland of the Madison State Hospital staff. She will be glad to register you and to provide directions to the workshop's location. Debbie may be reached by calling (812) 265-7414 or by email at dleland@fssa.state.in.us

Sunday, May 20, 2007

ATRA's Top 20 Successes

A couple of years ago, I developed a list of ATRA’s Top 20 successes. They are presented below for your review. Please do comment agreement or disagreement. Here they are:

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 annually 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.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Call for Presentations for ATRA Mid-Year

ATRA recently announced a call for presentations for the 2008 Mid-Year...see below:

The 2008 ATRA Mid-Year Professional Issues Forum, “Delivering the Vision,” March 13 - 16, 2008, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is an exciting and a tremendous learning opportunity for recreational therapists, students, educators and allied health professionals from around the world to come together to advance the practice of recreational therapy.

Please submit your proposal and required information as a Microsoft Word attachment via email to: conferences@atra-tr.org by September 1, 2007 to receive full consideration.

Information about the format for submitting a proposal for making a presentation are now available on the ATRA website or go to the following web address:

Friday, May 18, 2007

Position Openings for RTs in California

Patton State Hospital is recruiting recreation therapists to fill several available positions for those who are interested in relocating to sunny southern California. The Chief of Rehabilitation Therapy, Greg Siples, can be reached directly at the contact number below. Arrangements for an interview can be made ASAP.

Greg Siples
Chief of Rehabilitation Therapy

ATRA Conference Sept 9 - 12 in Milwaukee

A Release from the ATRA National Office....Phone: (703) 683-9420

Recreational Therapists Invest in Their Profession

(Alexandria, VA) The 2007 Annual Conference of American Therapeutic Recreation Association will be held September 9 – 12, 2007, in downtown Milwaukee. Wisconsin is a perfect location for recreational therapists to reflect on their profession and look to future involvement in the profession.

Join recreational therapists from all over the world in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the 2007 ATRA Annual Conference Investing in The Profession. The conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency Downtown. The conference, planned for September 9 - 12 will enable participants to experience the late summer and early fall seasons in Wisconsin’s largest city, set along Lake Michigan.

The conference will offer sessions by national recognized experts and presenters on new interventions, programs, research and advocacy to promote professional development and enhance clinical skills. Specialty tracks and training will be available throughout the conference.

For more information about the field of recreational therapy please contact the American Therapeutic Recreation Association or visit the ATRA website.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

RT vs. TR -- Still an Issue

I recently had the opportunity to talk with one of the national leaders for our profession during the 1960s and 1970s. He still thinks it was a mistake for our profession (that once used the expression "recreational therapy") to have ever adopted the use of the term "therapeutic recreation." In fact, this person strongly believes that using TR, rather than RT, has retarded the growth of our profession.

Hearing this view reminded me that our profession needs to seriously examine returning to the term "recreational therapy." I might contact some past national leaders to see if they will share their views on RT vs. TR so that I may post them on the RT Blog in an effort to stimulate discussion. What do you think?

"Craft to Heal" Book May Help RTs

I recently ran across an article that mentioned a book by Nancy Monson titled Craft to Heal. The article notes that Monson's book provides information on crafts to help people cope with particular emotions.

On the face of it, the book may be of help to RTs. I'll see about obtaining a copy of the book in order to learn more about its contents. If anyone reading this has read the book it would be great to get your comment on this post. Please let us hear from you should you know about Craft to Heal.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Complete Program for Madison RT Workshop

Below is the full program for the Madision RT Workshop coming up June 7 & 8 at the Madison State Hospital in Madison, Indiana....

Madison State Hospital RT Workshop Program 2007
June 7-8, 2007

Thursday, June 7, 2007

8:15 – 8:45 a.m. Registration

8:45 – 10:15 a.m. Why would you do that? Using theory as a basis for practice
Bryan P. McCormick, Ph.D., CTRS

This session will provide an approach to using social-psychological theory as a basis for practice. As recreational therapy practice is increasingly being asked to be accountable for outcomes, theory provides a basis for the answering questions of external stakeholders about our rationale for services. Two theories that can be broadly applied in recreational therapy practice will be introduced with examples for application

10:15 --10:30 a.m. Break

10:30 – noon Recreational Activities as Fuel for Interpersonal Change
Leann Terry, Indiana University

This presentation will outline how recreational activities provide a basis for facilitating interpersonal learning. A brief theoretical overview of interpersonal therapy will be given with specific application to activity-based interventions with groups. Special attention will be paid to how activities can be used as tools for assessing and intervening with clients' maladaptive interpersonal patterns.

Noon – 1:00 Lunch on your own

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Assessing the needs of our clients: Tools for Recreational Therapists
Marieke Van Puymbroeck, Ph.D., CTRS, CRC

This program will introduce participants to a variety of public domain assessments specifically focusing on adult and older adult populations. These assessments will assist in measuring recreational therapy practice outcomes.

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. Break

2:45 – 4:15 p.m. Independent Practice: The Medicaid Waiver Program in Indiana
Julie Foster, MS, CTRS

This session will provide information on the involvement of recreational therapy in the Indiana Medicaid waiver program. This program allows clients to receive services in their own homes from recreation therapists working as consultants. Information will be provided on the types of services provided as well as the steps required to become a Medicaid waver provider.

Friday, June 8, 2007

8:45 – 10:15 a.m. Recreation Therapy and Early Intervention Services…Where do we fit in?
Heather Sedletzeck, CTRS

The session will detail information for Recreation Therapists who have an interest in practicing in the area of Early Intervention Services. Information will be shared on how therapists in Indiana have navigated the credentialing process as well as information on treatments sessions with young children.

10:15 – 10:30 a.m. Break

10:30 – noon These Times They Are A-Changin:' Music Therapy to Support Patients' Medical & Wellness Goals
Jenny Branson, MT-BC, NMT

The session will provide an overview of medical music therapy. Specifically, this session will demonstrate how music therapy can impact such outcomes as grounding/orientation, relaxation, pain management, emotional expression and comfort care.

Noon – 1:00 p.m. Lunch on your own

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. “Teaching Tips”
David R. Austin FALS, Ph.D.

20 teaching tips for application in RT groups or the classroom will be presented. Also presented will be the traits of the best and the worst teachers.

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. Break

2:45 – 4:15 p.m. International Developments in Recreation Therapy
Bryan P. McCormick, Ph.D., CTRS

The purpose of this session is to identify where and how the practice of RT is developing in other parts of the world. The presenter will discuss how the use of recreational activity as a developmental tool is being implemented in a variety of other parts of the world. Specific focus will present experiences from an international summer school in Finland in 2007.

4:15 – 4:30 p.m. Evaluation

Sunday, May 06, 2007

RT Profs May Wish to Review Others' Syllabi

McCann and Perlman (2006) have suggested means for university instructors to avoid burnout while making teaching and life more enjoyable. Among their suggestions was: To review syllabi from others who teach the same class.

I believe this tip is a valuable one. Seeing what and how other RT profs teach may open up one's mind to new approaches.

In fact, it might be a good idea for someone to begin an organized effort for RT profs to share syllabi. This not only could provide information to revise courses but might provide a step toward greater standardization of curricula.

(The full citation for the cited article is: McCann, L.i., & Perlman, B. (2006). Make your teaching and your life more enjoyable. Observer, 19 (6), 25.)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Program Compete for June Madison RT Workshop

The program has been announced for the Madison RT Workshop coming up June 7 & 8, 2007, at the Madison State Hospital. Speakers will include Bryan McCormick, Marieke Van Puymbroeck, Leann Terry, Julie Foster, Heather Sedletzeck, Jenny Branson, and David Austin.

A variety of topics will be covered during the two-day workshop. Among them will be a session on theory-based RT practice, to be given by Bryan McCormick, Ph.D., CTRS, and a session on assessment tools for RT to be presented by Marieke Van Puymbroeck, Ph.D., CTRS.

The Madison RT Workshop will be held on the grounds of Madison State Hospital in Madison, Indiana. The city of Madison is located on the Ohio River in southeastern Indiana. Madison is a charming city filled with beautiful homes and pubic buildings. Over the years, many spouses have accompanied workshop participants so they might take advantage of the opportunity to visit Madison.

There is no registration fee for members of the Recreation Therapists of Indiana and ATRA CEUs will be available for the processing fee of $10.00. While those attending may sign-in at the door, preregistration is encouraged. Please contact Debbie Leland of the Madison State Hospital staff. She will be glad to register you and to provide directions to the workshop's location. Debbie may be reached by calling (812) 265-7414 or by email at dleland@fssa.state.in.us

Part-Time RT Position in Indy Area

Heather Sedletzeck, CTRS, just sent out this notice on the RTI listserve:

RT Solutions, Inc. has an opening for a part-time therapist to serve Indianapolis and the surrounding areas providing one to one treatments to developmentally delayed clients in their home and community.

We offer competitive pay and a flexible schedule!

If interested or to find out more information, please reply to this message and attach your resume and someone will contact you soon!

Heather J. Sedletzeck, CTRS, PresidentRT Solutions, Inc.812-231-1765812-878-6872www.rtsolutionsinc.com

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Sanghee Chun to Brock University

Dr. Sanghee Chun, CTRS, has completed her studies at Indiana University and will be joining the faculty of the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at Brock University this fall. Dr. Colleen Hood is the Department Chair at Brock. At IU, Sanghee studied under Professors Youngkhill Lee and Bryan McCormick.

Buettner to Join UNC Greensboro Faculty

Dr. Stuart Schleien has announced that Dr. Linda L. Buettner will join the Department of Recreation, Tourism, and Hospitality management at UNC Greensboro on August 1, 2007. UNC Greensboro will now have 11 full-time faculty -- including 4 TR faculty (Bedini, Buettner, Schleien, Stone).

AAT or AAA, Not "Pet Therapy"

In yesterday's post on the Furry Finals Fix program by IU students, I used the term "pet therapy" (Notice it was always in quotes.). I received a reminder from a friend that "pet therapy" is not the proper term to employ -- and if RT students organize such programs they should use the expression Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT).

In my teaching, I have employed the term Animal-Assisted Therapy. I had only used "pet therapy" (in quotes) in my post because that was the expression was used in the article that I cited and the term is the one with which most people are familar.

According to the Delta Society, perhaps the best term for a Furry Finals Fix program might be Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) -- because the program was technically not therapy. Go to the Delta Society website for further details.

For those with interest in learning more about Animal-Assisted Therapy, one source is Therapeutic Recreation Processes and Techniques (5th edition) by David R. Austin. See pages 122 - 125 in the section titled Animal-Assisted Therapy.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The One-Page Resume Myth

Among recently published myths when you are seeking a postion: You should keep your resume to one page; any longer, and hiring mangers won't read it.

Few employers are so rigid that they'll toss out your resume because it's more than a page long. What's more important is that the document is interesting to read, tailored specifically to the position you are applying for -- and perhaps most important -- error free. In fact, 84 percent of executives polled by Robert Half International said it takes just one or two typographical errors on a resume to remove a candidate from consideration for a job opening; 47 percent said a single typo can be the deciding factor.

While a one-page resume is preferable for entry-level candidates or interns, those with five or more years of experience may require an additional page to describe their work history and accomplishments. Keep in mind, however, you never want to lose a hiring manager's attention by providing irrelevant details.

Because RT students have too often been told to limit their resumes to one-page, I was pleased to read this information about the one-page myth supplied by CareerBuilder.com

May is Mental Health Month

Mental Health America of Greater Indianapolis recently sent out a reminder that May is Mental Health Month. Among the facts listed in the reminder were these:

1. There are more than 25% of American adults living with mental illness each year; they are no more prone to violence than members of the general public.

2. With proper treatment and support, most people with mental illnesses live productive lives at home in their communities.

3. Misconceptions associating violence with mental illnesses marginalizes the many people with mental illness in recovery and keeps those who need treatment from seeking the care they deserve.

I would like to add a 4th fact. That is, RTs are among the most important mental health workers and provide clients with treatment and support to help them to lead happy and productive lives.

"Pet Therapy" for Students

Yesterday's Indiana Daily Student newspaper had a front-page story titled "Pets Help Rid Students of Finals Stress." The article was about a student group of Indiana University students that conducted an event called the Furry Finals Fix with their dogs at one of the dorms. The idea of the program was to allow students to "de-stress" during final exam week. "The event was based on the premise that animals are good therapy," stated one of the organizers.

Another organizer talked about animals being helpful to relaxing and easing stress because they are accepting of everyone. One student commented in agreement, saying: "Animals have a natural way of calming you down and relaxing you."

Reading the article made me wonder if RT students should organize such "pet therapy" sessions on university campuses throughout America. Perhaps RT students could organize such a national program through ATRA in order to ease the stress of fellow students during exam weeks. Such a national event could also bring positive attention to recreational therapy and display how RT can be helpful to almost everyone.