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, May 30, 2008

Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) Resources

My wife and I recently returned from a Memoiral Day week-end trip to Dollywood where we met our daughter's family. The grandkids had a great time at Dollywood. I would recommend it to anyone as a fine place to take your kids or grandkids.

Since my return, I have worked on final touches to the 6th edition of my book, Therapeutic Recreation Processes and Techniques. One thing I recently added to the segment on Evidence-Based Practice was a list of resources. I thought I might just pull out the portion of the book that covers EBP resources in case RT Blog readers might find it helpful. So here (below) it is!

Lee and McCormick (2002) have suggested a five-step process for implementing evidence-based practice in therapeutic recreation. The first step is to formulate clinical questions concerning the client problem. An example would be: What interventions work best with this type of client? The second step is to search for research evidence. Current textbooks, professional journals, and databases, such as MEDLINE and PsychINFO, are potential sources. Additional databases include: CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing & allied Health), a general nursing database; Ovid, a database containing a collection of health sciences databases; and RehabDATA, a library and information center focusing on disability and rehabilitation provided by the National Rehabilitation Information Center. Perhaps the best place to find systematic research reviews is the Cochrane Collaboration (www.cochrane.org). The Cambell Collaboration (http://www.cambellcollaboration.org/Index.asp) provides systematic reviews of the effects of interventions.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Action Alert on Mental Health Parity Bill

This is a release I received today from the Bazelon Center:

Negotiations on Parity Near Conclusion

The following urgent action alert comes from the Health Policy Committee of the
Mental Health Liaison Group, co-chaired by Laurel Stine of the Bazelon Center
and Peter Newbould of the American Psychological Association.

Targets: All Members of the House of Representatives and Senate.

Action: Use the toll-free Parity Hotline, 1-866-parity4 (1-866-727-4894), to
call your U.S. Representative and Senators. (The Parity Hotline reaches the
Capitol switchboard, which can connect callers to their members of Congress).

Message: "I am calling to ask that the Representative/Senator urge the
Leadership to help conclude negotiations on a mental health parity bill that
can pass in both houses and become law this year. Relief from health benefit
discrimination against mental and substance use disorders must wait no

Background: With suicide claiming some 30,000 lives each year in this country,
health-benefit barriers still block millions of Americans from getting needed
mental health and substance-use treatment. Given the critical need for
Congress to lift those discriminatory barriers and a limited number of
legislative days to do so, there is profound urgency to forging a compromise on
mental health parity legislation that will not only yield strong protections
but can pass both chambers. We applaud initial steps to reach that compromise,
and call on Senate and House leaders to move quickly to ensure enactment of a
strong mental health parity law this year.

We have been pushing hard since 2001 to enact full mental health parity, and
victory is finally within reach. Following the Senate's historic passage of S. 558
by unanimous consent in September and House passage of H.R. 1424 on March
5, informal negotiations commenced. Parity supporters across America should
contact their Representative and Senators NOW to urge support for successfully
concluding this process. Senate and House leaders should continue to work
together to reconcile differences between the versions and produce a bill that
can pass in both chambers.

Failure to pass a parity bill in 2008 would further delay relief for millions
of American families who now face discrimination. It would also place the
issue directly in the path of a health care policy tornado in 2009 -- health
care reform - with no assurance that our issue would receive the attention it

The Legislation: Both S. 558 and H.R. 1424 expand the Mental Health Parity Act
of 1996 by prohibiting group health plans from imposing treatment or financial
limitations on mental health benefits that are different from those applied to
medical/surgical services. The legislation applies only to group health plans
already providing mental health benefits and exempts plans sponsored by small
businesses of 50 and under employees.

Resources: Fact sheets on parity and rosters of organizations supporting the
House and Senate bills may be found at http://www.mhlg.org/page18.html.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Post Number 399

This is the 399th post on the RT Blog -- which means the next post will be number 400! All posts are archieved so you can go back to read any of the 399 posts that have been made.

Many, many people have told me they read the RT Blog. Even in Canada a number of individuals told me they regularly check out the blog.

I have greatly enjoyed keeping up the RT Blog. I only have one regret. That is relatively few comment on the posts. I wish more of you would comment from time to time.

I guess I'll keep the RT Blog going for at least a bit longer. Its been fun doing it. Can't wait to do the next post -- number 400!

Travel to Halifax, Nova Scotia

I promised a brief report on our travels following the CTRA Conference in Newfoundland. We flew from Saint John's to Halifax, Nova Scotia. And our time there was just wonderful.

Our friends in Halifax insisted we borrow their car for a driving tour one day. We were glad they did. Now we can recommend a day trip to you out of Halifax.

The driving trip out of Halifax is to Peggy's Cove, Mahone Bay, and Lunenburg. Peggy's Cove is a "must see" for all tourists. In Mahone Bay, you need to eat lunch at the Biscuit Eater Restaurant and Book Store. The biscuits are out of this world! And Lunenburg is a charming small town with many beautiful old homes. In both Mahone Bay and Lunenburg there were lots of great places to eat and shop -- but mostly you'll just enjoy seeing the country side (with water everywhere) and the quaint small towns.

The city of Halifax also has much to offer. We went to several art galleries downtown. There, of course, is much water and one day we were able to go out on our friends' yacht and even had dinner at the yacht club (we felt like "big shots"). We also went hiking one day(in the rain!)around several coves. What a beautiful place!

I had always wanted to visit Nova Scotia and I was not disappointed in anything. We hope to be able to make a return visit someday -- hopefully, to both Newfoundland and Nova Scotia!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

ATRA Awards Nominations Due

Nominate a Deserving ATRA Member or Organization!! Deadline June 30!!

2008 ATRA Awards Program

The ATRA Awards Program is comprised of 10 awards, provided each year at the ATRA Annual Conference and Membership Meeting each fall.

Award Categories:

I. Distinguished Fellow Award
II. Outstanding Professional Award
III. Member of the Year Award
IV. Individual Citation
V. Organization or Institution Citation
VI. Certificate of Recognition
VII. Frank N. Brasile Clinician of the Year Award
VIII. Excellence in Education Award
IX. Scholarly Achievement Award
X. Chapter Affiliate of the Year Award

Information on each of the ATRA awards is posted on the ATRA website.

You Tube Video on TTAP Method

Dr. Linda Levine Madori recently sent me the link for a You Tube video on her TTAP method that was prepared by a graduate student. The video runs 9 minutes and 43 seconds.

To take a look go to:


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Take a Look at Madison RT Workshop

For years, I organized the Madison RT Workshop. I.U. Professor Bryan McCormick has taken over the organization of the RT Workshop and has done a great job with it.

This year's RT Workshop is June 12 and 13. Most years 50 or more RTs attend. You can go for one day or both -- most go for both and enjoy an evening or two in Madison.

Several things stand out about the Madison RT Workshop. The first is that it has a tradition of outstanding presentations. This year's program is no exception (See post below).

Second, there is no charge for the Madison RT Workshop for members of RTI or members of any ATRA chapter. ATRA CEU's are available at a very modest cost.

Third, the Madison RT Workshop is sponsored by Madison State Hospital and held on the grounds of the hospital. The state hospital sits on a bluff overlooking the Ohio River and the city of Madison, Indiana. Madison is a charming river city, which is visited each year by thousands of tourists who come to see the lovely old homes and the beautiful river valley.

Madison is in easy driving distance of Indianapolis (2 hours), Louisville (1 hour), and Cincinnati (1 hour and 30 min.). So whether you are from Indiana, Kentucky, or Ohio (or even another state) do yourself a favor and plan to attend a very well designed workshop in a charming setting.

Madison RT Workshop June 12 & 13

Madison State Hospital RT Workshop Program 2008
June 12-13, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008
8:15 – 8:45 a.m. Registration

8:45 – 10:15 a.m. Outcome Based Evaluation: Identifying Functional Outcomes of Service.
Dr. Bryan McCormick

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

10:30 – noon Co-treatments with Music Therapy
Jenny Branson

Noon – 1:00 Lunch on your own

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. A Better Understanding of Attitude Through the Therapeutic Game “Attitude!”
Robert Krider

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. Break

2:45 – 4:15 p.m. Enabling Gardens and Horticulture Therapy
Heather Robinson

Friday, June 13, 2008

8:45 – 10:15 a.m. Moving Beyond Recreation: Group Processing and Therapeutic Communication in Recreational Therapy.
Gretchen Snethen & Rebecca Gilbert

10:15 – 10:30 a.m. Break

10:30 – noon Playing your heart out: Cardiac disease and treatment considerations for therapeutic recreation practice.
Dr. Marieke van Puymbroeck

Noon – 1:00 p.m. Lunch on your own

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Using mindfulness meditation in therapeutic recreation practice.
Dr. Marieke van Puymbroeck

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. Break

2:45 – 4:15 p.m. Active Leisure: Pilot testing an intervention for people with schizophrenia.
Dr. Bryan McCormick

4:15 – 4:30 p.m. Evaluation

Registration & Contact Information

There is no registration fee for RTI members. 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, who will be glad to register participants and provide directions to the new location for the RT Workshop on the grounds of Madison State Hospital in Madison, Indiana.

Debbie Leland may be reached by calling 812.265.7414 or by email at dleland@fssa.state.in.us

Newfoundland & CTRA Conference

Wayne Bishop, Anne-Marie Sullivan, Sean Pardy, Paul Hanrahan, Nancy Hodder, -- the names of Newfoundlanders who made the recent CTRA Conference such a great success go on and on. Everyone that my wife and I met in Newfoundland couldn't have been nicer. What a group of wonderfully welcoming people!

My wife and I had remarkable stay during the CTRA Conference held last week in Saint John's, Newfoundland, Canada. We certainly enjoyed both the people and the place.

From the time Wayne Bishop and his daughter greeted us at the Saint John's Airport until the moment we left, my wife and I had the time of our lives. Newfoundland and Saint John's are "must see" places and the people there could not be any more friendly. If you haven't visited Newfoundland, you have missed something wonderful. And I would recommend you travel this time of the year if possible -- so you can view the icebergs that float by Saint John's in the spring. That was something to see! And stay at the Fairmont Newfoundland Hotel -- a really nice hotel where you can actually enjoy good food and friendly staff who will provide you with a real level of service.

My time at CTRA reminded me a great deal of the early years of ATRA -- in the late 1980s and early to mid-1990s. Everyone at CTRA was extremely happy to be there, to see one another, and to work together to make sure our profession flurishes in Canada. It was just great to be a part of such a positive atmosphere!

I did an all-day preconference workshop. The 100 workshop participants in attendance were interested and engaged. They inspired me to "be on top of my game" -- which I hope I was. I must admit that I was nervous about giving the Keynote Address during the Opening General Session. But, again, the audience of 200 delegates was very responsive and receptive. I felt great just being with this fine group of professionals.

There were others from the USA who attended and presented. It was great to see old friends like Bob Riley, Gene Hayes, and Jeff Witman. And I got to briefly talk with Gonzaga da Gama, from California, whom I had only previously spoken with over the phone.

It was also a treat to see my old friend Jerry Singleton. I've known Jerry for years and years. If you don't know him, you are missing out on a great deal of fun. He has a sense of humor that you won't soon forget.

While Jerry is from Halifax, rather than Newfoundland, his sense of humor is shared by all Newfoundlanders that I met at CTRA. These fun loving folks made me an "Honorary Newfoundlander" following an elaborate ceremony in which those of us from outside of Newfoundland were "screeched." It isn't something I will soon forget!

I would enjoy telling you more about my experiences at CTRA but had better stop at this point. Perhaps in another post I can tell you a bit about our trip to Halifax following the CTRA Conference. I will close by again recommending you plan a trip to Saint John's and Newfoundland. It has been my peasure to visit any number of cities and countries around the world and I can assure you that Newfoundland is a special place.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Great Time in Canada

We just got back home tonight following our trip to Canada. We arrived about 2 hours ago...when we were scheduled to come home yesterday. But bad weather in Chicago cancelled our flight yesterday -- so we were rescheduled for today.

The entire trip was just wonderful. In the next day or two, I'll make a post to fill you in on the CTRA Conference in Saint John's and the entire trip. But right now I need to unpack and get some sleep!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Leaving for CTRA Conference

I'll leave in the morning for the Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Conference. I'm excited about presenting, making new friends, and visiting Saint John's (where the conference will be held) and Halifax (to visit on the way back home). I'll be sure to let you know how things go.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

You Tube RT Videos

Lexi McKenney recently sent out info via the ATRA educators listserve on You Tube videos on RT that may be used to recruit students into RT. I took a look and you may wish to also. To see the videos go to:

Thursday, May 01, 2008

New American Journal of Play Coming Out

I just received a notice that the new journal, American Journal of Play, will be coming out this summer.

The new interdisciplinary quarterly journal claims to be the first scholarly, peer-reviewed journal dedicated solely to the study of play. It is from the Strong National Museum of Play (One Mahattan Square, Rochester, NY 14607) and is to be published by the University of Illinois Press.

The only persons on the Editorial Advisory Board that has I know are Garry Chick (Penn State), Brian Sutton-Smith (Penn), and Jerome Singer (Yale). I guess I'd contact Garry Chick for first-hand information on this new journal.

Annual subscriptions are listed as: $49 individual (paper or online), $74 individual (paper and online), and $124 institutional (paper only). To subscribe call (585) 263-2700 or go to www.americanjournalofplay.org

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Just to make you aware...May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

Mental Health Tips

From Mental Health America of Greater Indianapolis comes the Mental Health Minute for May,2008:

Tips to Improve Your Mental Health--Every Day!
Try the following tips to help plan a week that will leave you feeling good, inside and out.

Relax. Try meditating, taking a walk in a natural setting, or reaching out spiritually or through prayer. Quiet reflection, alone or in the company of others, can improve your state of mind, strengthen your sense of self and community, and give you time away from a hectic schedule to collect your thoughts and re-energize for the week ahead.

Make a plan. Decide what tasks you need to complete for the week and make a plan for when and how to do them. If you are overscheduled, decide what can wait a week or two. If you don’t have much on your schedule, plan some activities you’ll look forward to.

Surround yourself with supportive people. Make plans with family members and friends, or seek out activities at which you can meet new people, such as a club, class or support group. Reconnect with someone you have lost touch with and create new memories.

Take care of your body. Taking care of yourself physically can improve your mental health. Be sure to eat nutritious meals, avoid cigarettes, drink alcohol only in moderation, drink plenty of water, get enough sleep and exercise regularly.

Give of yourself. Volunteer your time and energy to help someone else. You’ll feel good about doing something tangible to help someone in need—and it’s a great way to meet new people who share your interests and compassion.

Broaden your horizons. Create a change of pace or expand your interests. Explore a new hobby, plant a garden, plan a road-trip, try a new restaurant, take dance lessons, or learn to play an instrument or speak another language.

Value yourself. Treat yourself with kindness and respect, and avoid self-criticism. Take stock of the qualities you like about yourself, your accomplishments and abilities. Take some time every day to relax, reflect and rejuvenate.