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.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

How Do You Define RT? ATRA Wants to Know.

In the current (summer) ATRA Newsletter there is an article that encourages RTs to react to ATRA's current definition of RT. Dr. Mary Ann Keogh Hoss, ATRA President-Elect, is heading an effort to examine the current definition to determine how it can be improved.

This is ATRA's current definition statement:

"Therapeutic Recreation is the provision of Treatment Services and the provision of Recreation Services to persons with illnesses or disabling conditions. The primary purposes of Treatment Services, which are often referred to as Recreational Therapy, are to restore, remediate or rehabilitate in order to improve functioning and independence as well as reduce or eliminate the effects of illness or disability. The primary purposes of Recreational Services are to provide recreation resources and opportunities in order to improve health and well-being. Therapeutic Recreation is provided by professionals who are trained and certified, registered and/or licensed to provide Therapeutic Recreation."

In the article, Dr. Keogh Hoss asks RTs three questions: (1) Do you use this (current) definition and in what way? (2) If you don't use the current definition what do you use? (3) Does the current definition meet your needs in the workplace?

Dr. Keogh Hoss encourages RTs to respond to her regarding their views. Her email address is

I, and many others, have long been dissatisfied with ATRA's definition. A change is long overdue. I hope that RTs take the time to respond to Dr. Keogh Hoss with their ideas of how to improve our definition of RT. I promise that I will contact Dr. Keogh Hoss with my personal views -- and will try to present some of my views in future posts on the RT Blog.


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