Powerful Geography
Recreational Therapists

Recreational Therapists

Recreational Therapists


Main Topic: Human Geography
Secondary Topic: Environment and Society

Overview: Recreational Therapists work with patients with different types of disabilities or illnesses to create recreation-based treatment plans. Like a physical therapist, they may incorporate some type of physical activities to improve their patients’ conditions, but they also work to improve a patient’s social and emotional health as well. They may work with a patient’s team of doctors, psychiatrists, and physical therapists to develop a treatment plan that coincides with the patient’s needs and personal goals. Recreational Therapists typically work in clinical settings such as psychiatric hospitals, nursing and assisted living facilities, or general hospitals. They can plan activities such as field trips, aquatic therapy, or utilize therapy animals in their treatment plans. As Recreational Therapists can work with individuals of any age, ability, and background, a basic understanding of different cultures and how the environment of where a patient grew up may influence their behaviors and response to treatment would be beneficial in their line of work. For therapists working with patients dealing with illness, an understanding of health patterns in the United States and health issues that might be common in certain locations would also be valuable.

Geographers at work:  Human geographers, health geographers, social geographers, cultural geographers

Recommended College Courses: World Geography, Introduction to Cultural Geography, Research Methods in Geography, Geography of Health

Skills: Human geography, communication and interpersonal skills, qualitative and quantitative methods

Occupation Group: Healthcare

Learn more about Recreational Therapists from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/recreational-therapists.htm

Written by Ally Schlandt