February is International Recreational Therapy Month!
Danny W. Pettry, M.Ed., M.S., N.C.C., C.T.R.S., A.T.R.A-Member
You are in our profession. You might be a practitioner, educator, or a student in a degree program. The primary job of practitioners is to provide RT/TR services to clients. The primary job of educators is to prepare students for a degree and future employment in our field. The primary job of a student is to learn all the skills they can to meet the requirements to become a practitioner in the field. Feel validated because you are doing great things.
Here is the big question: whose job is it to provide public relations? We might need a Smokey the Bear mascot who says: Only you can promote your profession!
February is Recreational Therapy/ Therapeutic Recreation Month! This is a time when the people in our profession make a special effort to promote who we are and what we do to help people with illnesses and disabling conditions through the use of Recreational Therapy/ Therapeutic Recreation.
Promoting our profession is for the greater good of society. Maybe a patient/ client in a setting will discover our services and seek us out. Maybe an authority for company will discover the therapeutic benefits and outcomes of our services and decide to make choices that are pro-RT/TR. Maybe third-party payers will discover how we are using evidenced-based practice and decide to include our services. Maybe practitioners who feel they are not validated as a professional will feel differently from our collective efforts to promote our profession. It is difficult to determine what the rewards of our efforts could be.
Promoting TR/RT Month is easy-to-do and you can do. It consists of delivering a message to people who might not know who we are and what we do. These people could include fellow professionals (like nurses, physicians, hospital administrators). It could include people in your local community. It could be family and friends.
It could be easier to promote our message in relation to specialized areas that the public has more general knowledge about. This could include the specialty areas, including: physical medicine/ rehabilitation, geriatrics, developmental disabilities, behavioral health, and community inclusion services, pediatrics, etc. Explain how RT/TR fits into making a difference for people in these areas. For example, people might have some general understand of behavioral health. However, they might not know what RT/TR practitioners are doing in these settings like helping a person to build new, healthier life and leisure skills they can use as an alternative to past self-destructive or harmful choices.
Here are some easy ways you can promote our profession during TR/RT Month:
· Send an email to your fellow colleagues at your place of employment.
· Post information at your facebook, twitter, or social media.
· Create a bulletin board at your facility.
· Give a talk about the profession at your facility. Sometimes food encourages people to attend.
· Contact your local media (newspaper,local-based magazines, radio, television stations) and ask them to do a story about the profession or what you do. Be sure to get permission from patients/ clients to avoid any patient privacy violations. Some people clients will be very willing to share their story and how RT/TR made a difference in their lives.
ATRA also has three new promotional products that you can order now from the ATRA Bookstore.
ATRA Products: https://www.atra-online.com/store/promotional-items
Charlie Dixon’s TR Directory/ RT Store: http://recreationtherapystore.com/
Danny Pettry’s Rec Therapy Store: http://www.cafepress.com/teachleisure
Share the link below on fb and a Rec Therapy Month graphic will appear!