Making the Case for Trauma-Informed Practice in Therapeutic Recreation
Keywords:therapeutic recreation, adversity, trauma, trauma-informed care
Therapeutic recreation (TR) is a profession that supports individuals with illnesses, disabilities, and other limiting conditions to increase their health, well-being, and quality of life (Canadian Therapeutic Recreation Association, n.d.; Carruthers & Hood, 2007; Stumbo & Peterson, 2021; Therapeutic Recreation Ontario, 2016). Most professionals, when conceptualizing TR interventions for clients, consider (a) the barriers that prevent meaningful engagement in leisure, (b) the challenges presented by their diagnosis or limitation related to well-being, and c) the resources that might be helpful to clients as they begin to move toward greater well-being. The purpose of this article is to invite TR professionals to consider the implications of adversity, specifically experiences of trauma, on clients and on their ability to engage fully with TR interventions and achieve greater well-being. Adversity has the potential to impact clients’ ability to live as well as possible with whatever challenges or limitations they have and/or to make the changes necessary to create a meaningful life (Janoff-Bulman, 1992; Park, 2012). An understanding of clients’ experiences of adversity will shape the way TR professionals work with clients and enhance the outcomes of service. Considering these issues will help to make TR interventions more effective. As such, this article will examine definitions of adversity and trauma, the effects of adversity and trauma on clients, and offer suggestions for trauma-informed TR practices.