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Qualitative Approach to Evaluating TR Definitions

Kenneth Mobily, Hannah Morris


The present research employed a qualitative strategy for soliciting practitioner interpretation of ATRA’s two most recent definitions of therapeutic recreation (TR) and supplemental statement of TR. We also sought practitioner definitions of TR based on their daily practice experiences. The study used a focus group comprised of a purposive sample of eight practitioners. We discovered five main ideas from independent reviews of the transcripts. Most subjects viewed TR as helpful but not conventional therapy. Reference to assessment seemed to stimulate discussion of its purpose and challenges among practitioners as well. The importance of the practitioner-patient relationship, the recreation environment, and enjoyment were emphasized in practitioner narratives. When asked to provide their own definitions, themes revolved around quality of life outcomes, such as reducing barriers, independence and functioning, wellness, and engaging life. Because of the purposive sampling in qualitative research, the findings cannot be generalized to a population of TR practitioners.

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ATRA; assessment; definitions; focus group; therapeutic recreation

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