Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Changing Perspectives for TR in Mental Health Services

Magazine article Parks & Recreation

Changing Perspectives for TR in Mental Health Services

Article excerpt

Doing more with less has become an unfortunate anthem for providers of mental health services. The "more" includes producing documentable outcomes and contributing to helping the client gain the best possible quality of life. "More" also means providing a greater range of services. "Less" means that these positive outcomes are expected to be achieved in less time and money. Less restrictive treatment is emphasized with a goal of minimizing separation from regular life roles and responsibilities.

Doing less with more requires new perspectives on therapeutic recreation. And new ways of thinking and doing have resulted in innovative ideas and programs.

The Hardiness Frame of Reference

Suzanne Oullette describes "hardiness" as a collection of personal characteristics that allow individuals to cope with and not get sick from stress. Components of hardiness include commitment, control, and challenge. Each is relevant to individuals who are restoring and reawakening their mental health.

Commitment is the opposite of apathy. It suggests dedication to people and ideas which transcend ones self. Examples include religious faith, loyalty to groups/teams/organizations, dedication to values and ideals, zeal for relationships, and enthusiasm for vocation or avocation. Commitment means caring.

Control relates to empowerment. It is the opposite of helplessness and hopelessness. As control increases, investment and engagement in activities can increase. With a sense of control comes the realization that while much cannot be solved, much can be resolved. Control means power and acceptance of responsibility.

Challenge refers to a positive perspective on change - viewing new experience not as a threat but rather as an opportunity. Challenge also relates to an appropriate balance of tasks with skills. Challenge creates confidence.

Therapeutic recreation services can be relevant to the development of "hardiness" as Figure 1 suggests. And program process and content can be designed to foster enhanced resilience and wellness.

Practitioner Competence

As service delivery changes, the competencies needed to provide effective services also change. The singular role of leisure educator or recreation experience provider give way to the diverse roles of "brief therapist". These roles are detailed in Figure 2. While the categories or rubrics which describe our responsibilities may remain the same, these terms will have very different meanings down the road. …

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