Teenagers explore outdoors

Recreation Therapy: An Important Key To Renewed Wellness

The most effective residential treatment centers take a holistic approach to treat those in their care. This means combining tailored clinical treatments with different forms of therapy, along with steady family support. Also vital to any residential treatment center setting: recreation therapy.

Let’s take a closer look at recreation therapy, its place at Elevations RTC, and why it’s so essential to a successful stay at any residential treatment center

What is Recreation Therapy at RTCs?

Also known as therapeutic recreation, recreation therapy (RT) approaches interventions for individuals through a range of recreation and activity-based activities.

These activities are designed to aid those who are in need of psychological or physical recovery and assistance. Recreation therapy at RTCs is designed with the specific well-being of individual patients in mind.

Overall, reaction therapy is designed to improve social and spiritual well-being and address the unique emotional and physical needs of participants.

The therapies come in many forms, including sports, music, physical activities such as hiking, games, and social outings, addressing the need for a supportive community. 

Benefits of Recreation Therapy

Recreation therapy feeds the minds and bodies of those living at residential treatment centers. It’s emotionally fulfilling and physically stimulating.

For example, painting and other artistic activities are a fantastic emotional outlet for participants. Sports help foster communication skills and build confidence, encouraging positive, healthy interactions with others.

Recreation Therapy is integral to the overall experience at Elevations, a leader in residential treatment programs. At Elevations, RTC is designed to introduce students to new, exciting habits, helping them discover new skills or cultivating skills from an existing foundation that needs to be built up once again.

There are other long-term benefits of recreation therapy. The activities are designed to reduce anxiety and stress and complement treatments for depression.

They often instill a sense of purpose in participants, help them to discover an activity that they enjoy but have never tried before, or reintroduce them to an activity they once enjoyed.

The chief long-term benefits of recreation therapy at Elevations RTC include: 

  • Self-confidence improvement
  • Mood improvement
  • Relationship building
  • Establishing mental and physical outlets
  • Instilling trust in peers and friends
  • Advocating for fitness in everyday life

Types of Recreation Therapy at Elevations RTC

Recreation Therapy is part of daily life at Elevations RTC.

Physical education classes, held each day of the week for at least one hour each day, promote healthy lifestyles and fitness through group exercise and individual workouts in the Elevations RTC gym. Other activities include yoga and aerobics.

A student enjoys outdoor recreation through soccer

Recreation therapy is a collaborative activity as well. Students form teams and work together with their team in activities such as capture the flag and soccer, held between Mondays and Fridays. Other activities include basketball, softball, volleyball, and cross-training.

In addition, students join a recreational club where they participate as a member every 8-12 weeks. Students can join a weekly club of their choice, often embracing a newly discovered skill or a willingness to try new things.

Examples of clubs offered through Elevations RTC include everything from wilderness survival skills and triathlon training to automotive repair and music.  

Outdoor and Experiential Education

Recreation therapy isn’t limited to sports and exercise. Residential treatment centers offer singular experiences that stress leadership development and continuing to work well with others.

At Elevations RTC, outdoor education and leadership activities are held weekly with different rotating adventures. These include skiing, rock climbing, mountain biking, backpacking, kayaking, and more. Such experiences can be eye-opening and life-changing for many at residential treatment centers.

It’s not just about having fun and being physically active. Such outings double as forms of experiential education that address many of the goals of therapy. Students continue to build confidence in themselves and others during such experiences. Many are experiencing such activities for the very first time and practicing newfound skills off-campus learned at RTCs such as Elevations.

At Elevations RTC, these outdoor and experiential experiences are one of a kind.

Taking advantage of its location near Salt Lake City, Utah, students at Elevations have taken trips to national parks such as Bruce Canyon, Arches, and Zions. Camping is a popular activity, offered for 3-5 days every other month. Students have also been able to bike on Bald Mountain and ski in Park City.

Community Service and Leisure

Part of being a responsible member of a community is contributing to it. That’s why community service learning is also part of the recreation therapy experience.

These projects allow students to make substantive contributions to community projects, helping to further build confidence within themselves and trust in others.

At Elevations RTC, community service-learning activities are held quarterly and often address such areas as education and the environment.

Leisure activities offered by residential treatment centers also have an educational component.

For the many young people enrolled in RTC programs, “normal” adolescent outings and activities have never been the norm. That changes at centers such as Elevations, where part of the schedule is devoted to fun, social activities students should experience, including going to movies, watching sporting events, and attending community events.

Who Leads Recreation Therapy Activities?

Commonly, these activities, especially at residential treatment centers such as Elevations RTC, are developed and led by certified therapeutic recreation specialists, the field’s most advanced credential. The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) is the top therapeutic recreation credentialing organization.