CULLOWHEE – Recreational therapy – sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Well it can be at times, but it’s also hard work. Just ask the ten Western graduates who took the rigorous national certification exam this past reporting period and passed. The professional certification exam was developed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS, the folks who bring you the College Boards) and the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.
Recreational therapists are professionals who help people recover the ability to function after major traumas, both physical and mental. Using art, music, dance, values clarification, meditation, counseling and other techniques, they teach such skills as problem-solving, fine and gross motor movement, stress reduction, memory development, and anger management. Their clients include people in psychiatric hospitals, physical rehabilitation centers, prisons and juvenile care facilities, nursing and convalescent homes, and other treatment facilities.
Not only is this kind of work not for the faint-hearted, but it also requires serious preparation for graduation, clinical internships, and national certification. With its beginning with Spring semester of 1995, Western was the first accredited university in the country to offer a Bachelor of Science Degree in Recreational Therapy. Under the direction of Dr. Edward J. Kesgen and other professors who are certified therapists with years of experience, Western’s graduates have consistently passed the national exam and have gone on to jobs in clinical settings.
“This means that, in a profession that has very rigid requirements for the knowledge required of its caregivers, Western is preparing its graduates well,” said Dr. Kesgen.
Recreational Therapy at Western is part of the Department of Health and Human Performance in the College of Education and Allied Professions. For further information, go to http://www.ceap.wcu.edu/hhp/RecTherapy.html