YWCA Hamilton celebrates Therapeutic Recreation Staff

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Therapeutic Recreation is an essential part of the programming we offer here at YWCA Hamilton.

But what exactly is it?

Therapeutic Recreation (TR) is used to help promote a sense of belonging, independence, and quality of life for individuals with physical, cognitive, emotional and/or social limitations. It could take the form of sports, games, arts and crafts, music, dance, or games – the same types of hobbies that have become popular during the pandemic. However, therapeutic recreation helps provide these activities to those who may face barriers to engaging in these types of leisure experiences.

Our therapeutic recreation staff here at YWCA Hamilton offer services to our Developmental Services clients, either through day programming or in group homes.

The purpose of TR is to enable all individuals to achieve quality of life through meaningful participation in recreation and leisure. It is always person-focused and geared to the individual’s tastes, interests, and abilities, in order to enrich the lives of those who participate.

TR can help individuals improve their physical and cognitive abilities, increase confidence and self-esteem, foster greater involvement in the community, strengthen interpersonal skills and relationships, improve their coping and adaptation skills, and enhance their general wellbeing.

“It is very rewarding, as we see right in front of you the difference and the impact we’ve made to create a more pleasant environment, a more pleasant life,” said Jen Stuart, a recreation therapist at YWCA Hamilton. “That’s really something special.”

Throughout the pandemic, our recreation therapists have been able to continue to provide recreation to our developmental services clients virtually. However, trying to recreate the experience online has had its share of challenges.

“In a helping profession like recreation therapy, we rely so much on rapport. It’s a little bit different to be assigned to a case manager and a rec therapist that you can’t actually see in person, and that you can’t meet,” said Chelsea Chesson, our program supervisor of community supports. “The virtual team has done such a wonderful job forming rapport, and having effective and therapeutic alliances with the participants and helping them achieve their goals safely.”

Want to learn more? Watch this video and hear our Therapeutic Recreation staff talk about their work, its importance, and how they’ve continued to provide these valuable services during the pandemic.

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