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2012-2013 Undergraduate & Graduate Catalog

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Therapeutic Recreation - Program Description

For additional information about opportunities your college offers, please refer to the College of Health Professions section in this catalog.

Director: Beck. Professor: Beck; Associate Professor: Kensinger; Assistant Professor: Wyble; Visiting Assistant Professor: Sunden.

Degree offered: Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation.


Therapeutic recreation/recreation therapy is an allied health profession involved in the care of patients/clients with a variety of diagnoses and functional limitations. Recreation therapy uses a continuum of care service model (Van Andel, 2003), which provides response to diagnoses, treatment/rehabilitation, remediation, leisure education, recreation participation, and prevention/health promotion.

Career Opportunities

The eld of therapeutic recreation has continued to grow and offers diverse opportunities for employment. Recreation therapists may serve as counselors, community educators and organizers, administrators, supervisors, consultants, and researchers. Professionals might nd themselves in any of the following settings: hospitals, physical medicine and rehabilitation, psychiatric hospitals, community mental health clinics, substance abuse centers, respite day programs, hospice, school systems, schools or residential centers for those with specic disabilities, special schools or treatment clinics, child protective agencies, sheltered workshops, programs operated by public recreation, and park departments.

Therapeutic Recreation/Recreation Therapy at Grand Valley

Therapeutic recreation/recreation therapy is a four-year program, plus one semester of internship, which leads to a bachelor of science degree. The program offers a highly articulated and sequenced curriculum. All students must seek advising from a department faculty member before embarking on the program. The baccalaureate curriculum provides educational opportunities that prepare students for entry level positions in therapeutic recreation/recreation therapy. Students are prepared to meet consumer health needs in a dynamic and culturally diverse world by completing a comprehensive curriculum that includes theoretical and practical experience and application. Students need to be able to use clinical reasoning skills such as problem solving, formulating concepts, making judgments, analyzing behaviors and tasks, and determining appropriate intervention. The following abilities are important for students to possess for the therapeutic recreation profession: commitment to learning, interpersonal skills, communication skills, effective use of time and resources, use of constructive feedback, professionalism, responsibility, critical thinking, and stress management skills.


Students who have been accepted by the university through the Admissions Ofce will follow the outlined procedures.

All undergraduate students interested in health-related programs at Grand Valley register as prehealth majors for their freshman year and complete core courses that are required of prehealth majors and that are pertinent to therapeutic recreation.

The admission process for therapeutic recreation consists of three phases. These phases are outlined below.

Phase I
Phase I consists of having the following prerequisites met or being currently enrolled at the time of application for admission: overall GPA of 2.7 or above, PSY 101, BIO 120, and CHM 109.

Phase II
Phase II consists of the actual application process. Students must submit all application materials to the Director of the therapeutic recreation program. The application consists of the following components, all of which must be completed and submitted by March 1, prior to the intended fall entry (applications available in the College of Health Professions ofce).

  • Application form.
  • Autobiographical sketch.
  • Statement of professional goals.
  • Fifty hours of volunteer or paid work in a therapeutic setting.
  • Two letters of recommendation from therapeutic recreation specialists, related health care, or other recreation professionals with whom the applicant has completed volunteer or paid work hours.

Phase III
Upon completion of Phases I and II, students will be notied of provisional admission into the program and will be asked to set up an advising appointment with the Director of Therapeutic Recreation. Students will be given a permit to register for REC 110 and 111 for the fall semester. Upon successful completion of these two courses (80 percent competency/B- in each course), the student will be granted full admission into the therapeutic recreation program.

Transfer students will follow the above process and meet the same criteria. Students should note that it is best to complete only one year at another institution (i.e., community college). This would facilitate completing the therapeutic recreation program at Grand Valley within the three-year and one semester rotation of therapeutic recreation coursework.

The following program is available:

Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation

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