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.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Dan Johnson Mentioned in Newspaper Article

While reading the Thanksgiving issue of the Winston-Salem Journal newspaper, an article caught my attention. It was "DRIVE: Iraq Veteran Lost Limbs but Golfs in the 90s."

The article was on Joey Bozik, a triple amputee who survived an exploding mine in Iraq, who had demonstrated his use of an accessible golf cart that helped enabled him to return to the game he loved, golf, following his injury.

It turns out the article was a follow-up to Bozik's visit to RT Professor Dan Johnson's class on accessible golf at UNC Wilmington.

It was good to read about Bozik's success with golf and to learn that Dan Johnson was promoting accessible golf with both his students at UNCW and the general public.

I first got to know Dan Johnson when we served together on the ATRA Board. He is a great guy to be around and, by the way, is an excellent golfer.

Dan is also someone who looks for ways to promote the value of RT. Reading the article reminded me that many RTs do things that are news worthy but do not always see that the media know of their work. I hope reading about this article will inspire others to gain media attention for their work in RT. Nice going Dan!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mayo Clinic Another Video Source

In doing further searching, I found that the Mayo Clinic is another source for RT related videos that are free and online. Some titles of videos from the Mayo Clinic include: "Yoga for Stress," "Art Therapy for Stress Management," and a series of videos on exercises such as the bench/chest press and doing abdominal crunches.

To access the Mayo Clinic videos go to http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/VideoIndexPage/VideoIndexPage

I plan to continue to search for RT related videos and will pass on what I find in future posts on the RT Blog.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

RT and Online Videos

I recently ran across a couple of websites that contain online videos related to health. One is out of Stanford University and the other is from the University of Maryland.

Stanford Health Living has free online videos on a number of topics including exercise programs for those with cancer and stress and coping. The address is http://healthlibrary.stanford.edu/resources/videos.html

The University of Maryland Medical Center Video Library has online videos on topics such as addiction and AIDS/HIV. The address is http://www.umm.edu/videos/

I'm sure there are other good health-related websites with online videos. If you know of any, you may wish to comment so others can access those videos.

It is my hope that Indiana University will offer the Recreation Therapy Videos (RTV) on a website. That would be a wonderful resource for RTs, RT educators and students, and the public in general.

Friday, November 16, 2007

"Broaden and Build" Model

Barbara Fedrickson, of the University of North Carolina, developed the "Broaden and Build" model of positive emotion. In short, this model proposes that positive emotions lead people to broaden their thinking and actions and lead to building their strengths.

Of course, the Broaden and Build model has much to say to RTs. Participation in recreation allows people safe environments in which to experience positive emotions. This safe, positive environment allows them to open up to new ways of thinking and acting. Resulting from this broadening are outcomes that build the person's skills and resources.

I have written previously about the Broaden and Build Model but hope to enlarge on its relationship to RT in the next edition of my book Therapeutic Recreation Processes and Techniques.

For those who wish to read more I would recommend Fredrickson's article titled "What Good are Positive Emotions" in the Review of General Psychology, Volume 2, pp. 300 - 319. Another good article by Fredrickson is "The Role of Positive Emotiions in Positive Psychology" that appeared in 2001 in Vol 56, No. 3, pp. 218 - 226, of the American Psychologist.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Need for More Strong M.S.Programs in RT

I have long believed that for RT practice to continue to make significant strides there needs to be a large number of master clinicians who work at an advanced practice level.

Master clinicians in RT are skilled professionals who develop and test new theory-based techniques for application in clinical practice. These techniques then are picked up by others who employ the techniques in working with their clients.

Not all master clinicians have to hold master's degrees (some may gain advanced clinical skills by working in the field under highly skilled clinicians). Most master clinicians however should be trained in university graduate programs in RT.

Professor Jennifer Piatt of Cal State University Sacramento has been engaged in discussions with professionals and educators in California on the topic of the development of strong master's degree programs in RT in her state. I was really pleased to know of the efforts of Jennifer and her colleagues.

There are some who believe that the master's degree should be the entry-level degree for RT. This, to me, would be ideal. Many of our sister professions have moved to having the master's degree as an entry-level degree. Some even require practice doctorates.

I do not believe that there are enough quality RT graduate programs. I would like to see the development of a number of strong university master's degree programs in RT that have a clinical focus -- so that master clinicians can be produced to serve as leaders for clinical practice in the profession.

What do you think? Do we need master clinicians to advance clinical practice in RT? Do you believe we need more quality university graduate programs to prepare master clinicians?

Friday, November 09, 2007

New Revolution Needed in RT

I have written about the first revolution in RT being the great growth in RT programs following WWII and the beginnings of professionalism. The second revolution in RT was when professionalism came about (See "A Third Revolution in Therapeutic Recreaiton?" in Austin, Dattilo & McCormick's Conceptual Foundations for Therapeutic Recreation published by Venture Publishing.)

These revolutions were lead by two generations of visionary individuals who established our exciting profession. Now we need a third revolution in which the profession clearly establishes its boundries -- and then rests its foundations on practice theories and research on RT's effectiveness as a clinical intervention.

Is RT to move forward to create a third revolution -- or have the efforts of those visionary professionals who established our profession been for not?

Any Interest in an RT Curriculum Conference?

In the 1980s Indiana University sponsored a series of "Post-Doctoral Institutes" for RT faculty who held doctorates. The institutes were partly supported by a BEH grant.

The institutes were held at IU's outdoor education center, Bradford Woods. There were no costs for the participants who stayed at Bradford Woods. Meals were served free of cost. Transportation to and from the Indianapolis airport was provided. So the only cost to participants was for travel.

It would seem that the Post-Doctoral Institutes could serve as a model for a national conference on RT education. A set number of participants, perhaps 30, could meet to gain consensus on RT curriculum.

Participants could be selected from applicants from university RT faculities, as well as RT practitioners. Consultants might be invited to serve as discussion leaders. Some names of possible discussion learders include Ray West, Norma Stumbo, Bryan McCormick, Marieke Van Puymbroeck, Thom Skalko, Frank Brasile, and Terry Kinney. Perhaps you can think of others who might do a good job of leading the participants in discussion.

There are any number of universities that have facilites to host such a meeting -- Indiana University, Clemson University, and Southern Illinois University come to mind -- but I'm sure there are others.

I would hope that some university will come forward to grasp the leadership to sponsor such a national curriculum conference. Perhaps the American Therapeutic Recreation Foundation and NCTRC could serve as co-sponsors.

It seems to me that the RT profession is long overdue in conducting a consensus conference to strengthen RT curricula. Now is the time to take action. I hope my ideas will provide an impetus for this action.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Dealing with Holiday Stress

Advise for RTs and their clients on dealing with holiday stress from the "Mental Health Minute" of the Mental Health America of Greater Indianapolis....

Holiday Stress

The idea of fighting mall traffic, picking out the "perfect" tree in subzero weather, or giving your house a floor-to-ceiling cleaning to prepare for family visits is enough to make anyone feel stressed.

The best way to keep your holiday stress in check is to create a plan, have realistic expectations, and take care of yourself!

Create a plan.
-Make a list and prioritize it. The things on the bottom of the list do not have to be done.
-Begin shopping or doing your holiday cards now instead of waiting until the last minute.
-Check off your list as you go.
-Plan tomorrow today.
Have realistic expectations.
-Don't expect "the best holiday ever."
-Be realistic about what you can accomplish.
-Learn to say no and ask for help from others.
-Realize the importance of not focusing all your attention and energy on one day.
-Prepare yourself mentally for visits to the malls - know that you will probably have to wait in lines.
Take care of yourself.
-Do not skip meals and do not overuse alcohol and caffeine.
-Try to exercise - a simple walk before or after dinner counts.
-Get proper rest.
-Spend time with supportive and caring people.
-Find time for yourself instead of constantly catering to other's needs and activities.
-Meditate or pray.