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, August 31, 2008

Good Selection

I just learned that Professor Bryan McCormick has been named the Interim Chair of the Department of Recreation, Parks and Tourism at IU. It is good for an RT faculty member to lead a department and Bryan is an excellent choice for the job.

I wish Bryan was a candidate to chair the department on a permanent basis because he is an extremely bright guy who is also very fair minded.

I Have My Copy -- Better Get Your Own

I just received my copy of the newly published Guidelines for Competency Assessment and Curriculum Planning for Recreational Theapy Practice. This is the 2nd edition of this important publication. As with the 1st edition, published in 1997, ATRA is the publisher.

Ray West, Terry Kinney, and Jeff Witman served as editors for the new Guidelines. We all owe them a great deal of appreciation for their fine efforts.

It hardly seems possible to me that it has been more than 10 years since the 1st edition of the Guidelines was published. That publication was an important event because it established guidelines universities could use to develop and evaluate their programs. The Guidelines also offered students with a means to assess potential university curricula to determine how complete they were, as well as offering a yardstick for self-assessment. I know of one university that had the students use the Guidelines competencies to assess themselves after their sophmore year and then, again, as they completed their degrees. Students could then see the great gains they had made in developing themselves for careers in RT.

For practitioners the Guidelines marked a step forward for their profession. Their profession could be made stronger by universities employing the guidelines to make sure the professional preparation they provided met the guidelines. Also, the practitioners could directly apply the compentencies to themselves to self-assess whether their skills were keeping up with those called for in the Guidelines.

The 1st edition of the Guidelines certainly had a large impact on the profession. Now the new, revised edition has the potential to move the profession forward once again. It contain up-to-date information that faculty, students, and practitioners can immediately use.

All practitioners should make sure that their departments order a copy of the new Guidelines so they will have ready access to it. Faculty need to made sure they own personal copies and that they require students to purchase copies as a textbook.

Copies of the Guidelines are available from ATRA's online bookstore.

Friday, August 29, 2008

How About a North American RT Week in February?

Did you know that Canada celebrates RT/TR Week in February? I always thought that we in the States should move RT/TR Week during the school year, rather than holding it in the summer when people are on vacation and university students are not on campus.

How about having a North American RT/TR Week and holding it in February. It makes sense for RTs in Canada and the USA to celebrate their week together at the same time. Having RT/TR Week in February will allow university faculty time to organize students for the week following the Christmas holiday break.

Taking this approach, I think, the profession will get far more attention. And it seems to me that we, in RT, should do more with our friends to the North. A good start would be celebrating RT/TR Week together. What do you think!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Conceptual Models and the Definition of RT

I think that any definition of RT must exist in the context of conceptual models for RT – because conceptual models are means by which to define the practice of a profession. In following today's conceptual models, I believe we can avoid getting into the position we are in today -- of defining the profession so broadly.

More modern conceptual models such as Austin's Health Protection/Health Promotion Model and Van Andel’s TR Service Delivery and TR Outcome Models emphasize treatment and wellness – not the provision of recreational services for persons with disabilities.

It has been my experience that practitioners can really relate to the Health Protection/Health Promotion Model once it has been explained to them. It is important to examine all conceptual models to see how they define the profession. Those thinking about a new, improved definition of RT may wish to take a close look at the conceptual models that exist today.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

University of Utah Faculty Position Open

Assistant or Associate Professor of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism,
Therapeutic Recreation Emphasis, Tenure-Track


The University of Utah invites applications and nominations for an Assistant or Associate Professor of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. Responsibilities include advancing the mission of the Department, College, and University through excellence in the scholarship of teaching, discovery, integration, application, and service. The individual appointed will be expected to collaborate with faculty members in the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, the College of Health, and the larger Health Sciences complex.


A completed doctorate with an emphasis in therapeutic recreation is required, and Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) standing is preferred. The successful candidate will have an active research agenda that focuses on therapeutic recreation, a strong teaching ethic devoted to excellence in education at the graduate and undergraduate levels, and a commitment to professional service. The successful candidate will primarily mentor graduate students in therapeutic recreation. It is expected that the successful candidate will also have practical experience in the field of therapeutic recreation to complement her or his academic expertise.

Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism

The Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism is one of seven academic units located in the College of Health and is part of the University of Utah Health Sciences Center. The University of Utah is located in Salt Lake City in the foothills of the majestic Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains. Salt Lake City and its surrounding metropolitan area have a wide range of health and well-being organizations/facilities that utilize recreational therapy. Among these are the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics (e.g. Huntsman Cancer Institute, Neuropsychiatric Institute, and Rehabilitation Center), Kostopuols Dream Foundation (Camp K), The National Ability Center (NAC), Veterans Administration (VA), and numerous public and private recreation centers for people of all ages.

Application Deadline and Start Date

Applications should be received by November 15, 2008 for earliest consideration. We will continue to receive applications until the position is filled. This position will begin Fall Semester 2009. Contact Person: Submit a letter of application, curriculum vita, and names of five references with contact information to Dr. Steven A. Bell, Search Committee Chair; Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism; 250 S. 1850 East, RM 200; University of Utah; Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0920: steven.bell@health.utah.edu

Advice for Students Starting College

Advice for college students from Mental Health America:

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (August 27 2008): Starting college can be both exciting and stressful. You’re juggling classes, living on your own for the first time and figuring out what you want out of life. It’s no surprise that many freshmen feel overwhelmed. In fact, American College Testing (ACT) estimates that 1 in 4 college students drop out before completing their sophomore year.

One way to fight stress and feel at home in your new surroundings is to connect to other students and the larger campus community. To help the incoming Class of 2012, Mental Health America has put together a fact-sheet outlining the benefits of getting active—and staying active in your college communities. Here are some suggestions for incoming students:

Connect to your roommate, dorm mates and Resident Advisor. Make an effort to get to know the person you’re living with. Go to meals, get a cup of coffee or explore campus together. Also, take time to get to know the people living on your floor. Say ‘hi’ when you pass each other in the hall or stop by their rooms. Resident Advisors are trained to know what’s happening on campus. They also plan dorm floor events and outings.
Stay connected to family and friends at home. Leaving your friends and family isa big change. Staying in touch can helpyou feel close and supported. Instant Messaging, texting, email and social networking sites are great ways to stay connected—but be careful what you post online!
Connect to the larger campus community. You may want to think about participating in sorority or fraternity recruitment. If that isn’t your thing, there are other student clubs on campus that focus on everything from social justice issues to rock-climbing. Don’t see a club you like? Start one.
Connect to your professors and academic advisors. Your professors and academic advisors are there to help you get through tough classes, tough decisions and tough times. They can help you figure out what you want out of your academic experience. If you feel like you might have a rough time in class, make an appointment with your professor during office hours.
Connect to help. Your health and well-being can affect your freshman year experience – how much you enjoy being there, how well you do in class and how you feel about yourself. Make your health and well-being a priority from the start.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tomorrow, August 27th, ATRA Housing Deadline

If you are going to the ATRA Annual Conference and have not booked your hotel room, the Peppermill Hotel in Reno has extended it's deadline for ATRA Group Rate bookings to 8/27/08.

Visit the website www.atra-online.com for more details and to book your conference 2008 and hotel room.

PNWATRA Fall Workshop Oct. 17th

From Michael S. Ratliff, CTRS, Director of Therapeutic Recreation at the Oregon State Hospital comes this announcement regarding the Fall Workshop of the Pacific Northwest Therapeutic Recreation Association (PNWATRA):

PNWATRA Fall Workshop

When: October 17, 2008

Time: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Where: Legacy Good Samaritan Hospital
1015 NW 22nd Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97210


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 mhoss@mail.ewu.edu

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.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Nursing Home Publication Available

ATRA has announced that in addition to publishing the revised Guidelines for Competency Assessment and Curriculum Planning for Recreational Therapy Practice (released 7/2008), ATRA has published RT in the Nursing Home (released 7/2008).

These new publications are available from the ATRA online bookstore. The address is www.atra-online.com

Sunday, August 24, 2008

ATRA Hotel Booking Deadline Now 8/27/08

A notice was recently sent out by ATRA regarding ATRA Conference housing:

The Peppermill Hotel in Reno has extended it's deadline for ATRA Group Rate bookings to 8/27/08.

Visit the website www.atra-online.com for more details and to book your conference 2008 and hotel room.

Go GT!

Glenn "GT" Thompson is a CTRS. GT is also running for a Congressional seat from Pennsylvania.

If successful, GT will represent the people of Central and Northwest Pennsylvania -- but I know that he will also represent the interests of improved healthcare in America and the place of RT in the healthcare system.

GT has been a nationally prominent figure in RT for a number of years. He has done much for our profession. If you, in turn, want to support GT in his bid for Congress, you may wish to contribute to his campaign fund as I have.

To contribute send your check to: Friends of Glenn Thompson, PO Box 1112, State College, PA 16804.

Best of success GT!

Don't Overlook This Great Resource

On Wednesday, August 13, 2008, there was a post titled "Great Website for Program Ideas." It is a wonderful resource for activities to use with therapy groups.

I am surprised that there haven't been more comments about the website. It is so rich that I thought many would look at it and comment how useful it is.

In case you haven't checked it out, please give it a look. The title of the website is "Group Therapy Ideas & Themes." Any RT will find many activities to use with RT groups. And RT educators should refer their students to this website.

Activities are found under five categories: (a) Icebreakers, warmups, engrgizers, and deinhibitizers; (b) Trust and relationship-building activities; (c) Psychological exercises for insight and self-awareness groups; (d) Recreation therapy activity index; and (e) Adventure therapy and wilderness/nature therapy.

To check out this website go to:

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New ATRA Guidelines Now Out

ATRA has announced that the Guidelines for Competency Assessment and Curriculum Planning for Recreational Therapy Practice (2008) is now available for purchase through the ATRA online bookstore.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

RTI Call for Presentations for Conference

From Laurie Lee, CTRS, President of the Recreation Therapists of Indiana:

Just a reminder that the 2008 Call for Papers are due August 30. Please contact me if you are interested in presenting but need more time to prepare your paper. The guidelines for the papers can be found on the website (www.rtindiana.com) and in your last newsletter. Your information can be sent via email to this address or to RTI, PO Box 22095, Indy 46222.

The Recreational Therapists of Indiana annual conference will be held on November 13-14, 2008 in Evansville, IN at the Executive Evansville Inn. Speakers are offered a partial waiver from registration fees.

Nominate a Person with a Disability for National Award

Through the Paul G. Hearne Leadership Awards, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) recognizes outstanding individuals that personify leadership, advocacy and dedication to and for the disability community at large. Residents of the U.S. with any type of disability are eligible to apply, and are required to complete the application instructions and procedures.

For application instructions and procedures go to the AAPD web site:

The application deadline is September 30, 2008.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Great Website for Program Ideas

I came upon a great website that contains descriptions of group activities. Its title is "Group Therapy Ideas & Themes." Any RT will find many activities to use with RT groups. And RT educators should refer their students to this website.

Activities are found under five categories: (a) Icebreakers, warmups, engrgizers, and deinhibitizers; (b) Trust and relationship-building activities; (c) Psychological exercises for insight and self-awareness groups; (d) Recreation therapy activity index; and (e) Adventure therapy and wilderness/nature therapy.

To check out this website go to: http://www.wilderdom.com/games/GroupTherapyIdeasThemes.html

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tai Chi and Participants with Breast Cancer

From the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability in the August, 2008, NCPAD Newsletter comes information on research on Tai Chi:

Influence of Tai Chi on Functional Capacity in Breast Cancer
Mustian, K. M., Katula, J. A., & Zhao, H. (2006) A pilot study to assess the influence of Tai Chi Chuan on functional capacity among breast cancer survivors. The Journal of Supportive Oncology, 4(3), 139-145.


This study compared the influence of Tai Chi Chuan (TCC) and Psychosocial Support Therapy (PST) on functional capacity among women who had completed treatments of breast cancer within the past 30 months.

Twenty-one women who had completed treatment of breast cancer participated in the study.

Participants were either assigned to a 12-week (3 sessions per week) TCC exercise group or PST usual care control group. Aerobic capacity, muscular strength, and flexibility were assessed at baseline and at 12 weeks. A repeated-measures experimental design was used to compare the two groups.

The TCC group demonstrated significant improvement in all three measures of functional capacity at 12 weeks as well as statistically non-significant improvement in body composition. In contrast, the PST group showed declines in aerobic capacity, muscular fitness, and body composition at 12 weeks, with significant improvement in abduction and non-significant improvement in all other areas of flexibility.

These results suggest that TCC may be effective in improving functional capacity among women diagnosed with and treated for breast cancer. Future research is needed to determine the optimal dose of TCC needed to elicit health-related benefits among breast cancer survivors. Tai Chi Chuan may have potential as a therapeutic intervention for optimizing recovery following treatment of breast cancer.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

ATRA Room Reservations by August 13th

Apparently there was some confusion about the date for making hotel room reservation for the ATRA Conference in Reno. ATRA just sent out this message to clarify:

Dear ATRA member,
Please note that the room reservation deadline for the Peppermill is August 13. You mush secure your room by that date to guarantee a room at the ATRA rate of $119.00.

Individuals should make their own room reservations by phoning the Peppermill's convenient toll-free reservations line at 1-800-282-2444 or contact the hotel locally at 775-826-2121. Please identify yourself with American Therapeutic Recreation Association (CODE: AATRA08).

Wear Your Sunglasses!

Many RTs spend a lot of time in the summer sun. They should wear sunglasses -- and they should make sure their clients wear sunglasses -- according to a report from Lighthouse that follows below:

While many people know that unprotected exposure to the sun can cause damage to the skin, unprotected exposure to the sun can also harm the eyes.

According to Dr. Bruce P. Rosenthal OD, Chief of Low Vision Programs at Lighthouse International, "Research shows that only one in six Americans wear sunglasses when they are in the sun for long periods of time, yet people who spend excessive hours in the summer sun have an increased risk in later life of developing age-related eye conditions such as macular degeneration as well as cataracts and corneal problems. All of which cause low vision and potential blindness. Sunglasses are vital because they keep certain wavelengths of light from entering the eye. They can also reduce the amount of light entering the eye, protect against harmful UV light, decrease glare and increase contrast."

RT Position Openings in Indiana

Heather Sedletzeck, CTRS, has announced these employment opportunities:

Job title: Recreational Therapist
Hours: Full time – Terre Haute and Indianapolis, Part time - Bloomington
Salary: commensurate upon experience (range $30,000 – $33,000)

Facility: RT Solutions, Inc. – Home and community based services (location – throughout the state of Indiana)

Qualifications: All applicants must possess CTRS credential from the National Council on Therapeutic Recreation Certification. Experience is preferred but not required. Also must possess a valid driver’s license with reliable transportation, auto insurance and professional liability insurance. (*Willing to interview and make job offers to those who are board eligible for employment immediately following passing the NCTRC exam.)

Population: We serve clients throughout the lifespan who have an identified developmental disability.

Starting Date: September 1, 2008

Description of position: We have been providing Recreational Therapy services since 2004 throughout the state of Indiana. RT Solutions, Inc. is seeking self-directed, organized individuals who have a passion for what they do and desire to make a difference in others lives! These positions offer flexible schedules and the opportunity to utilize your skills by providing one to one treatment that is truly person centered! Therapists must be able to effectively communicate with other professionals on the Interdisciplinary team as well as the client and their families. They must be able to complete assessments, program plan, document and evaluate treatment in narrative form, attend client meetings (quarterly and annually) and attend monthly company meetings. RT Solutions, Inc. offers competitive wages, stipends for mileage, treatment supply allowance, health insurance stipend, continuing education stipend and CPR/First Aid certification. We offer 1 week paid vacation, 2 sick days, and 7 paid holidays. We market to individuals in the target geographic area, complete intake information for referrals and build caseloads for our therapists. All billing is completed in the main office which allows our therapists to focus on providing the highest quality of treatments possible!

Contact: E-mail your resume and references to Heather Sedletzeck at heatherctrs@bizma.rr.com,

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

What is a Webinar?

From our friends a Lighthouse comes this information explaining webinars and how they are using webinars for continuing education:

What is a Webinar?

As more and more organizations begin using webinars as quick, convenient ways to provide CE credits, it's important that we all stay familiar with the most recent trends in Continuing Education.

A "webinar" is a presentation, seminar, or lecture you attend on your computer. Typically, a person logs on to a website, where they view slides, presentations, etc. that are controlled by the presenter. Participants listen to the audio via a conference call, or through the website itself. Subjects, length, and times vary, but a key component of a webinar is that it is interactive. Users can ask questions of the presenter either over the phone or through their computers, depending on what organization is hosting the session. According to a recent Lighthouse student, "Don't be intimidated by the webinar format; it is really easy to do."

Another key point about webinars is that while they are live presentations, if you happen to miss it, it can still be made available. Most organizations archive their webinars so you can access them at your convenience, whether that be the next day, week or months after the presentation is given.

Online learning tools, such as webinars, will most likely become more and more prevalent. Lighthouse International has already launched a suite of webinars on subjects ranging from The Child Friendly Low Vision Exam to High Tech for the 21st Century.

Book Now and Save $$$$

I just received a reminder from ATRA on the 2008 ATRA Annual Conference coming up September 29th - October 2nd at the Peppermill Hotel Casino in Reno. The theme of the conference is "Leading the Way."

Those that register and book their rooms by August 7, 2008, will get the best prices. So now is the time to act in order to save money.

There are many interesting sessions scheduled during the ATRA Annual Conference. Some of my former students will give presentations, including Judi Voelkl, Jodi Deerfield, Lou Powell and Vicki Scott.

The Educators Meeting will be held on September 30th. Here is hoping that the educators use their time together to discuss concrete steps in setting new minimum standards for RT curricula. If this is not done it will be an opportunity lost.

For futher information on registration, booking rooms, and the conference program go to www.atra-online.com

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

From Maxine...

Maxine comes up with some good ones from time to time. Here are a couple:

"As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point the wrong way."

"The difference between the Pope and your boss, the Pope only expects you to kiss his ring."

University of New Hampshire is "Green"

I recently posted information on colleges and universities with well recognized RT curricula that made the lists of "party schools" and "stone-cold sober schools" annually published by the Princeton Review. One of the party schools was the University of New Hampshire.

It turns out that the University of New Hampshire in Durham has received a second honor from the Princeton Review. In addition to being ranked among the top party schools, the University of New Hampshire made the "Green Rating Honor Roll" recently announced by the Princeton Review.

The Princeton Review's green ratings are based on colleges' environmental-related policies, practices and academic offerings. It is not easy being green -- so hats off to the University of New Hampshire.

Monday, August 04, 2008

RT "You Tube" Videos

Have you visited Charlie Dixon's RT/TR Directory lately to check out the RT "You Tube" videos? There are over a dozen videos ranging from Professor Carmen Russoniello discussing the use of therapeutic video games to student recruitment videos.

To check out the "You Tube" RT videos go to http:www.recreationtherapy.com/recreation-therapy-videos.htm