Recreational Therapy

Recreational therapy (RT), also known as therapeutic recreation, is a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with illnesses and/or disabling conditions, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery and well-being. Further, “Recreational Therapy” means a treatment service designed to restore, remediate and rehabilitate a person’s level of functioning and independence in life activities, to promote health and wellness as well as reduce or eliminate the activity limitations and restrictions to participation in life situations caused by an illness or disabling condition.

Recreational therapy is not all fun and games. There is a purpose behind the activities that are specifically targeted to each patient.  When individuals are suffering from a physical injury or mental illness, they need help learning, not only how to live with their disability, but to enhance their quality of life by reducing the isolation that patients experience and helping them to participate in leisure activities.

Recreational therapists (RTs) seek to reduce depression, stress and anxiety in their clients and help them build confidence and socialize in their community.

Quoted with permission from the American Therapeutic Association (ATRA).  Accessed May 8, 2021 from

At Milwaukee Women’s Recovery Center  we believe that:

  • Recreational Therapy is a common form of therapy for the treatment of drug or alcohol addiction and various mental health disorders.
  • Recreational Therapy can play a significant role in assisting clients with SUDs.
  • It can help improve client health and reduce symptoms of addiction in ways that other forms of treatment cannot.
  • RT involves the use of various recreational skills and activities such as art, music, creative writing, life skills, leisure education, wellness programs, games, and more.
  • Using these recreational skills and activities helps clients to become more aware of limitations to their recovery while providing tools to address such limitations.
  • Recreational Therapists help guide clients to develop leisure interests and healthy hobbies that will serve as an expressive outlet that they will carry with them throughout their healing and life-long recovery.

Specific RT services offered by  Milwaukee Women’s Recovery Center, to all our clients include: 

• Initial Leisure Assessment for each client.
• Treatment Plan with specific person-centered goals.
• Planning and implementation of individual and group recreational therapy.
Examples of specific recreational therapy groups include:
• Leisure education (developing an awareness of leisure resources, identifying interests, the benefits of recreational activities, obstacles to leisure involvement, etc.)
• Wellness (topics range from healthy eating to the benefits of physical activity to components of wellness, etc.)
• Cognitive stimulation (trivia, riddles, word games, etc.)
• Stress management (yoga, meditation, exercise, etc.)
• Writing activities (journaling, creative writing, poetry, etc.)
• Note: RT group sessions are limited to 8 clients and usually meet once per week.