Not all types of therapy focus on talking about emotions and problem behaviors. There is a growing field of research that emphasizes the importance of participating in fun recreation activities as well as learning healthier coping mechanisms. In fact, they often overlap. Recreation activities are incorporated into residential programs to encourage teen boys to stay active, to seek out healthy challenges, and to connect with others over shared activities.
What is Recreation Therapy?
As defined by the American Therapeutic Recreation Association, therapeutic recreation is a “systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed needs of individuals with mental health issues, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery and well-being”. In simpler terms, therapeutic recreation is a type of therapy that doesn’t focus on the “illness” – instead, it focuses on the positive abilities and having a good time while getting better.
Recreational therapy involves a variety of fun activities, like those teens might participate in at a summer camp or outdoor program. These activities are modified slightly to encourage self-reflection and collaboration. For example, outdoor activities can be used in recreational therapy in order to inspire communication skills and healthy relationships with peers.
Recreation Therapy as a Healthy Emotional Outlet
According to a study released by the National Recreation and Park Association, kids between the ages of 9 and 17 have an innate need to engage in more intense and exciting activities than they did as children in order to stimulate their growing brains. Inactivity and boredom can lead to serious mental health issues for kids, including depression, feelings of aimlessness or disconnection from society.
As teen boys try to figure out who they are in adolescence, they grow from experiences that are outside of their typical daily schedule or their comfort zone. Their tendency to seek out new sensations and sources of stimulation can push them to engage in risky social activities, especially if they don’t have alternative emotional outlets.
Teens today spend more time online than outdoors. Many of the teens we work with have limited experience participating in group physical activities outside of organized sports teams. By introducing them to a variety of outdoor activities, teens begin to explore their interests and discover where their strengths lie. While the activities we offer vary on a weekly basis, exposure to a variety of activities teaches them the basic skills of multiple activities so that they feel more confident in each of them.
While sports teams are usually competitive, adventure activities are intended to teach teens to become more self-aware. Their goal is to help teens realize the importance of physical activity for one’s emotional well-being, not just their physical health. These new hobbies are activities they can easily participate in once they return home.
Group activities allow our teens the opportunity to work together in order to identify and overcome challenges. The ability to properly communicate, show leadership, and listen to feedback while in difficult situations is integral to helping teen boys become more independent. The more they participate in adventure activities, the more confident they feel about their ability to stay regulated, have fun, and to carry these lessons into other areas in their lives.
Recreation Activities Offered at Equinox RTC include:
- Rock Climbing
- Canoeing and Kayaking
- White Water Rafting
- Stand-Up Paddle Boarding
Recently, students pitched in to help build a BMX pump track on campus. They got to see the benefits of their hard work when they got to use the track after the job was completed. By encouraging the boys to play an active role in the process through hands-on learning, they developed a passion for the project and working together.
Every quarter, students participate in an overnight camping trip, providing opportunity to apply the outdoor skills they learn and to challenge the individual and team in a setting that may be outside their comfort zone. Off-campus recreation activities are a great way for teens to practice using skills in different environments, which helps them transition home more smoothly.
Equinox RTC Can Help
Equinox is a residential treatment center that helps boys ages 14-18 who struggle with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and addictive behaviors. Equinox offers a unique treatment program designed to fit each individual’s specific needs. This treatment center has a supportive environment that helps students heal from the inside-out. Students develop a healthy sense of social and emotional awareness and learn how to incorporate good habits into their daily lives. Equinox enforces a positive change in the lives of young men and offers them a fresh start at a happy and healthy future. We can help your family today!
Contact us at 877-279-8925.