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Leisure and the Therapeutic Relationship: Contributing to Meaningful Lives

James B. Wise


The primary goal of human beings is creating meaningful, healthy lives out of their existence, a task tailored to therapeutic recreation (TR). In this article, the core elements of TR, leisure and the helping relationship between professionals and service recipients, are examined through the lens of hermeneutic phenomenology. Hermeneutic phenomenology is a philosophical perspective centered on understanding how people interpret and assign meanings to lived experiences. Applying the philosophical perspective to TR, leisure generates meaningful experiences that therapeutic recreation specialists (TRSs) and service recipients collaboratively weave into personal narratives. The result is service recipients living well and flourishing. Conceiving of TR in this manner entails that our services are germane for all people.

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hermeneutics; leisure; meaning-making; phenomenology; therapeutic recreation

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