Finding the Way to Zero: Recreation Therapy

Finding the Way to Zero: Recreation Therapy


Today I want to talk to you about our recreation therapy program at the Memphis VA Medical Center. It combines treatment, education, and recreation services, to help veterans with illnesses, disabilities, and other conditions, enhance their health. Just really looking at that whole person and thinking how can we improve these functional abilities to make them more independent. Recreation therapy targets conditions that affect cognition, physical, and emotional ability by developing programs that align with the leisure ability model. We look at each veterans leisure interest. It’s very tailored to the individual. It honestly opened my eyes to think, you know what’s the purpose of this? I couldn’t enjoy things without drinking. Creative activities such as those offered through recreation therapy have been shown to be beneficial for veterans diagnosed with PTSD and those veterans involved in suicide prevention programs. This program definitely helped save my life. I have a very young son and I didn’t realize what I was doing was hurting him more than helping him. Treatment programs provided through recreation therapy include tai chi, yoga, equine therapy, creative art, archery, adaptive sports, project healing waters, and music for vets. They’re socializing with their peers they’re in the zone. They’re learning a new sport. Veterans are referred to recreation therapy by their provider. A recreation therapist conducts an assessment to evaluate veterans needs and makes a recommendation based on the veterans interest and treatment goals. You wanted to serve this country. Continue to serve. It’s still work to be done. Where you start is yourself. [Music]

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