The Top 5 Traits A Recreational Therapist Should Possess
A career in healthcare as a Recreational Therapist involves helping patients cope with and improve disabilities, injuries or illnesses. The work itself can prove quite challenging, as each day in this occupation may involve new cases, therapeutic plans and treatment obstacles.
“A career as a recreational therapist is very rewarding,” Alexa Go, a Recreational Therapist at the Episcopal Center for Children in Washington, D.C., stressed. “While some days may be hard and test your patience, at the end of the day you really do feel like you are making a difference in the community.”
Known for helping to make a difference, these professionals are known to have strong leadership skills which enable them to establish their client’s treatment plans and offer guidance and support to healing. Although dedication to successful patient outcomes is the primary characteristic shared amongst Recreational Therapists, possessing other key attributes often allow these professionals to set themselves up for stronger long term success. Here are the top 5 traits Recreational Therapists should possess:
- The ability to multitask
As a Recreational Therapist, these professionals must be able to schedule and meet numerous appointments throughout a day, in addition to dealing with the stress that comes with patient needs.This demand may seem daunting, but staying organize can greatly assist a professional in fulfilling all responsibilities.
“The lifestyle of the recreational therapist is busy,” Go explained. “In my experience not one day is the same as the other. I am constantly on the move going from meetings to individual and group therapy sessions to dealing with constantly changing clientele.”
- Dedication to continued education
Best practices in therapeutic services are constantly being adapted to meet individual needs and a comprehensive list of patient challenges. Thus, Recreational Therapists must keep up-to-date on all therapeutic trends, standards and advancements in treatments. In maintaining their expertise, Therapeutic Recreation Specialists need to periodically pursue training or advanced educational opportunities.
“In the field of recreational therapy, any opportunity for continuing education is important,” Go shared. “Whether that be completing a Master’s Degree program in recreational therapy or attending a conference or professional development course, there are always opportunities for growth.”
- Adaptation skills
A Recreational Therapist caseload will largely depend on their specialty or employer. Furthermore, not every therapy treatment plan will prove effective and successful. Therefore, Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS) must remain open-minded and consider implementing therapeutic alternatives when necessary.
“Experience and observations in a variety of settings are key to what they call building your professional toolbox,” Go noted. “Many things that I have adapted into my treatment sessions came from other professionals in other settings. Being knowledgeable of the population you are treating is integral to coming up with the best treatment plan.”
- Patience and kindness
Recreational Therapists will encounter patients with a variety of physical and emotional needs. For this reason, they must approach each patient with compassion, empathy and understanding. Offering support and guidance to patients is also critical to helping them overcome challenging life circumstances.
“I believe anyone who wants to be a Recreational Therapist should be caring, patient, creative and flexible,” Go emphasized. “At times this career can be trying and that’s where patience is key. Patience towards the clientele, patience with the people you work with and patience with the growing field overall.”
Even when an initial therapeutic treatment plan proves unsuccessful, Recreational Therapists must continue to develop strong alternative plans of action. Despite a therapy failing to improve a patient’s mental state, each treatment can help CRTS’s progress toward the proper plan for each specific patient.
“Recreational therapy is still a growing field and is not as established as physical therapy or occupational therapy, but is getting there,” Go commented. “Providing constant education on the benefits of recreational therapy and providing consistent, quality therapeutic interventions is key in this growing field.”
Learn more about a career as a Recreational Therapist today!