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, July 21, 2009

Most Past Presidents Favor ARTA -- What About You?

Last year I conducted a "straw poll" of ATRA Past Presidents on a name change to the American Recreational Therapy Association (ARTA).

13 of the 18 who were still members responded "yes" for the name change to ARTA. 4 voted "no." 1 abstained. Thus approximately three-quarters or 75% of ATRA Past Presidents were in favor of changing the name of ATRA to ARTA.

Many reasons for the name change to ARTA have been presented. Here are some:
1. The rationale is simple. To change the name of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association to the American Recreational Therapy Association makes the organization's name congruent with both the vision and mission of the organization. The Mission Statement reads: "The mission of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association is to serve as a member driven organization that collectively supports the recreational therapy profession. The Vision Statement reads: "The vision of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association is to be the premiere professional membership association representing recreational therapists, consumers and stakeholders."
2. Given that the mission, vision, budget and work priorities are dedicated to recreational therapy why wouldn't the name be changed to accurately reflect the focus of the organization?
3. With the current budget concerns changing the organization's name will provide more of a focus specific to recreational therapy that will help to focus future budget decisions and priorities for the organization.
4. The term "recreational therapy" offers a focus consistent with
the intent of the Medicare Project.
5. The designation of the profession as "recreational therapy" is
supported by the United States Department of Labor.
6. There exists a designation code for recreational therapy under
the classification of instructional programs (CIP codes).
7. The term, recreational therapy, is more consistent with a host
of environmental facets (i.e., the health care industry, health
accreditation, legislative language, sister allied health disciplines,etc.).
8. CMS and JC both use the term recreational therapy in the
regulations and standards of health care and treatment services.
9. The term recreational therapy reinforces the concept that the
Association cannot be all things to all people and therefore focus
should be congruent with the mission of the Association.
10. It can be argued that our lack of acknowledgement of the fact
that we are therapists has hurt us from many perspectives including
customer satisfaction, reimbursement, professional confidence, etc.
11. It is agreed by most that we need to make the change to RT. It's long overdue and the rationale is there.

Of course, there are reasons some oppose a name change. Among these are:
1. The profession doesn't need controversary at this time.
2. Some believe we have "more important" issues that demand our attention.
3. Many younger professionals have only known the term, "therapeutic recreation," so they are hesitant to change to a term unfamiliar to them.
4. The term "therapeutic recreation" is very broad so it can take in recreational therapy.

Many believe that using the term "therapeutic recreation" (instead of recreational therapy)has held back the profession's development. I really think that ATRA members should debate the need for a name change to ARTA. What comment do you have?


Blogger Mike Sutherland said...

It is interesting that only one of the arguments listed here in favor of NOT changing to RT is proactive. The other three are simply excuses more than reasons why "TR" is better.

4:35 PM  

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