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Integrating Leisure, Human Flourishing, and the Capabilities Approach: Implications for Therapeutic Recreation

James B. Wise


The value-laden nature of therapeutic recreation (TR) entails therapeutic recreation specialists (TRSs) acting as moral agents who help people with disabilities live well. To be effective agents, TRSs seek guidance from moral visions or conceptualizations of what it means to live well. A challenge for TRSs is that people they serve pursue a plurality of secular and religious moral visions. Thus, the profession and professionals need an overarching, guiding framework compatible with diverse views of the good life. This article describes such a theoretical framework, the Capabilities Approach authored by Nussbaum (2006, 2013), illustrates the theory’s compatibility with a moral vision recently presented in the TR literature and explores how adopting the approach leads to TRSs taking on the concomitant role of social justice agent.

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capabilities approach; flourishing; human rights; leisure; therapeutic recreation

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