The guest speaker’s name is Gracie Gonzalez, and she currently works at LAC + USC Medical Center as a recreational therapist. Gonzalez describes the facility’s population as adults and pediatric patients. The needs addressed in this facility include the mental well-being of the patients. The speaker currently works in a psychiatric facility; hence, they serve the needs of patients who have schizophrenia, may be a danger to others, ADHD, autism, and Down syndrome. The activities offered to patients differ on a day-to-day basis; some examples include anger management, coping skills, movement groups, team building, and leisure education.
The API process begins with checking the patients and the number of adult and pediatric patients. Next, the RT proceeds to have a 5-minute interview with each patient to ask them basic questions. The RT assesses the patient’s mental state and asks them about the goals and activities they want to do on that day. A mandatory question for this unit is regarding the patients’ intentions to hurt themselves or others. The RT also performs an initial assessment based on the cognitive, physical, and social capabilities of the patients. I have also learned about other agencies that engage in similar activities, for example, from the video “Recreational Therapy at Highlands Behavioral Health System” (Highlands Behavioral Health, 2019). This facility offers a variety of services and options of therapy, such as physical exercise and creative therapies to help their residents. Another similar facility is Brighton Recovery Center (n.d.), which offers rehabilitation services to people with substance abuse issues.
I am personally more interested in behavioral health as this aspect of recreational therapy has many potentials for application and helping others. For example, in the video “Recreational Therapy at Highlands Behavioral Health System,” recreational therapists working in this center talk about the varied activities they offer to their clients (Highlands Behavioral Health, 2019). For instance, there is trauma-informed yoga, which not only allows the patients to take care of their physical health but also addresses the physiological traumas that these individuals have gone through and that can continue to affect their lives and well-being to this day.
Next, there is art therapy and music therapy, both of which help engage the creativity of the patients while providing them with relief from their mental health illnesses. The best thing described in this video is that the center’s employees enjoy what they do and get to help others by teaching them mindfulness and ways of applying things such as yoga, painting, or music for the improvement of their well-being.
As I am a physically active person, my interest lies in sports, and the recreational therapy that I would be most interested in would involve movement and physical engagement. Sports not only help build muscle and maintain physical well-being but can also help patients who experience issues with mood and other mental health issues. Hence, I would be interested in engaging in therapy that involves sports, such as the one described in the “Recreational Therapy at Highlands Behavioral Health System” video. Moreover, an interesting thing mentioned in this video by one of the speakers is that people who experience psychological trauma try to avoid being in their bodies and distract themselves with excess work, food, or other problematic behaviors.
The goal of mindfulness, which can be achieved through physical practices, is to teach people to pay attention to their bodies and control their emotions more effectively, without engaging in problematic behaviors. Therefore, I think that this type of activity would suit my interests, skills, and the knowledge that I currently possess as I am interested in mindfulness and related practices, and I think that physical activity can help many people, if done correctly, to deal with their physical and mental traumas.
Brighton Recovery Center: Rehab Center in Sandy, Utah. (n.d.). Web.
Highlands Behavioral Health. (2019). Recreational therapy at Highlands Behavioral Health System [Video file]. Web.