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National Recreation Therapy Service

National Recreation Therapy Month  

February is Recreation Therapy Month, time to recognize the importance of Recreation Therapy and the Creative Arts Therapies (Art, Dance, Drama, and Music) in the rehabilitation and overall improvement of health and wellness for millions of Veterans nationwide.  

In observance of National Therapeutic Recreation Month, we would like to thank our Recreation Therapists by acknowledging theri work and dedication!

National Therapeutic Recreation Month is observed in February to appreciate the works of recreation therapists. It also focuses on raising awareness of the importance of participating in activities that help people with disabilities recover and maintain their overall health and well-being.

Join us in celebrating the Recreation Therapists and Creative Arts Therapists who focus on health promotion, disease prevention and improving quality of life by enhancing and maintaining physical, social, cognitive, and emotional function.

The terms Recreation Therapy and Creative Arts Therapy (Art, Dance, Drama, and Music) identify these disciplines as evidenced-based approaches for clinical rehabilitation and treatment. The exceptional knowledge, skills, and abilities developed by the therapists in these disciplines provide them with a unique set of tools to provide a holistic, person-centered-care approach that incorporates Veterans’ interests, family, community, and lifestyle.

Along with improving quality of life, Recreation Therapists and Creative Arts Therapists help Veterans to enhance and maintain physical and cognitive abilities, engage in social communications and skill development, improve emotional well-being, develop creative self-expression, and promote a personalized sense of accomplishment that nurtures and supports each and every Veteran.

Recreation Therapists and Creative Arts Therapists across the VA system work with Veterans every day building confidence and self-esteem by focusing on strengths and diminishing the focus on a disability.  It’s a service that improves and enriches the bio-psycho-social functioning approach to rehabilitation, wellness, and well-being.  It helps Veterans meet the challenges related to a physical or mental condition by developing the skills and abilities to improve function and independence, promote wellness and prevention, restore quality of life, and make success a realistic possibility.

Recreation and the creative arts provide a holistic, whole-health approach to address medical, mental health, and long term needs.  As therapy, this is much more than developing activities or leisure skills for use in one’s spare time. It encompasses values and attitudes and engages the individual as an active participant in charge of their rehabilitation, recovery, health, wellness, and well-being.  It is a simple fact that recreational or creative arts interventions designed around a Veteran’s needs and interests reduces the need for medication and shortens the hospital stay.

Future of the Recreation Therapy Service

Recreation Therapy Service is pursuing new partnerships with community organizations such as the YMCA to support Veterans’ rehabilitative needs in their local communities.  Partnerships with adaptive sports programs in local communities and at the national level have led to successes and improved the awareness of National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events and clinics such as the Golden Age Games, and the National Creative Arts Festival.

Veterans who have participated in these competitions have found renewed opportunities to partner with Veteran peers, “ship-mates,” soldiers, Marines, Airmen, and guardians.  Additionally, Recreation Therapy Service has supported tele-rehabilitation initiatives for Veterans in their homes.  This service is expanding and will benefit Veterans in rural or isolated geographical locations.