Recreational Therapy David ChangFlorida InternationalUniversity Recreational Therapy (RT)ModalitiesThere are five possible modalities for addressinganxiety. They include anger management, animal-assisted therapy, art andcrafts, aquatics, and sensory stimulation.Anger management – involvesthe process of an individual learning to identify symptoms that they arebecoming angry, and taking an action(s) to calm down and deal with thepresenting issue in a different fashion. According to Robertson & Long (2008), anindividual learns, rehearses, and applies effective thinking strategies insocial situations.Arts and crafts – is acreative expressive therapeutic intervention in which paintings, drawings,sculptures, photography, and digital arts, are used in the therapeutic process.This allows the patient to express himself/herself, develop leisure skills, andexperience personal achievement (Robertson & Long, 2008).
Aquatics – is a physicalactivity therapy in which patients perform exercises in water to relax andbecome fit, among other therapeutic advantages. An aquatic therapist uses thisapproach to assist the patient to achieve his or her therapeutic goals (Robertson& Long, 2008).Sensory stimulation – Thismodality involves the use of pleasurable activities such as home videos tostimulate the mind (Robertson & Long, 2008). Even so, the bestmodality for the disabling condition is animal-assistedtherapy.Animal-assisted therapy is anature-based intervention that involves the use of animals to achieve the goalsof positive social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning of the patient (Robertson& Long, 2008). It emerged from the belief that animals havesupernatural powers and spirits. The earliest form of AAT was used in the 18thcentury by William Tuke in England (Serpell, 2000). Since then, animals, suchas horses, birds, dolphins, cats, and more so, dogs, are used during this formof intervention to educate and motivate the patient.
Sigmund Freud, forinstance, kept dogs for his psychoanalysis (Coren, 2010). Florence Nightingalealso appreciated the use of pets for healing. Significant studies show thatthis form of therapy is effective for patients suffering from chronic anxietydisorders (Giuliania & Jacquemettaza, 2017; Leslieet al.
, 2014; Baker & Dawson, 1998)APIEProcess for animal-assisted therapyAssessmentFor animal-assisted therapy, there are particular behaviors, attitudes,and skills that the patient must have to maximize the benefits of this therapy.For instance, the patient must have a liking of animals, say a dog, and be ableto stand and walk with the animal. This establishes the foundation forplanning, implementation, and assessment of the therapeutic intervention.PlanningDuring planning, the therapist and the client outline the goals,objectives, content, and processes for implementation and evaluation. The goalof therapy may include but not limited to relieving stress and personal care (Robertson& Long, 2008).
ImplementationIn the implementation stage, a therapeutic relationship is established,and the therapist creates a safe environment to facilitate and supervise AAT inlight of achieving the objectives.EvaluationFinally, the data of client’s progress is collected and assessed forsubsequent decision-making. This may include changing the program orintensifying it.Specific ActivitiesTalking to the animal – allowsthe patient to express his or her emotions and fears to address her worries,grief, and isolation.Park Walk – allows the patientto stroll with a confidant in places they dread to ease his or her anxiety.Doggie soccer game – allowsthe patient to engage in a game like doggie soccer to increase his or her focusand attention, and experience a greater sense of control and teamwork.Pet feeding – allows thepatient to feed the animal to increase the sense of self-sacrifice, trust, andreduce isolation.Pet sitting – allows thepatient to take care of the animal, increasing his or her sense ofresponsibility, enhanced problem-solving, and teamwork.
ActivityDescription and Activity Analysis Form & SummaryPlayingDoggie SoccerDoggie soccer game can be one of the most effective waysof reducing anxiety. The therapist use a typical Golden Retriever to engage thepatient in doggie soccer games. This breed of dogs is known to be patient,loves work, and is keen on tasks (Coren, 2000). They are sociable, calm, andwilling to learn.
The purpose of doggie soccer is to increase the patient’saerobic capacity, improve cardiovascular health, build strength andflexibility, promote coordination and teamwork, enhance thinking, enhanceconcentration, and promote self-discipline. The goal of the game is to score agoal (Bindoff, 2011). The game entails teaching the dog to toss the ball aroundusing its paws. In fact, the dog can be taught to score a goal by pushing aball towards the goal line using its snout. While the game is played on theplaying ground, it can be done indoor but the patient controls the ball. Theremight not be goal posts indoor; buckets can be set up to serve the purpose of agoal post.
Apparently, dogs like biting and may end up biting the ball. The dogshould be encouraged to bate and nose the ball, and be allowed to achieve thedesired behavior (scoring a goal) (Bindoff, 2011). To train the dog to score,the patient kicks the ball using his nasal bone, three paces away from the postinto the goal post. Nose touches, timing, and success are imperatives whenplaying doggie soccer. Even so, a goal post should not be the main thing in thegame. The patient can also teach the dog other tricks such as serving the ball,shooting, and fetching the ball. However, it is imperative that the therapistsupervises the activity to ensure both the patient and the dog are safe duringtherapy.ActivitysummaryPhysical aspectsDoggie soccer requires significant use of the body, bodyparts, movements, coordination, speed, energy and flexibility.
Social aspectsPlaying doggie soccer requires significant socialcapabilities such as contact with the dog, developing a cooperative relation,and both verbal and non-verbal communication.Cognitive aspectsCognitively, doggie soccer does not require intensememory and thought processes.Affective aspectsThe game provides the patient the opportunity to expressdifferent emotions, such as frustration and joy.Administrative aspectsThere are no significant administrative aspects requiredfrom the patient. Even so, the patient coordinates with the therapist to haveaccess to a ball, a playing area, and a time schedule.
ActivityAdaptation and EvaluationAdaptationPhysical aspect Doggie soccer game witha dog requires the use of motor skills, both fine and gross. During the play, apatient suffering from anxiety has an opportunity to walk and run. When teachingthe dog to play, patients require a spacious environment to engage in hopping,catching, jumping, throwing, bouncing, kicking, and striking, subsequentlydeveloping their motor skills. During constant worry, the patient is prone todeveloping suppressed immune system, reduced sexual performance, muscletension, premature coronary diseases, and heart attack. However, a research byCherniack and Cherniack (2014), revealed that AAT improved older people’sphysical health in all aspects, including reducing the risk of cardiovasculardiseases due to increased cardiovascular activities involved in playing withpets.Cognitive aspectPeople with anxiety disorders are often in constantworry traumatic memories. Interestingly, animals require attention, and playingDoggie soccer game with them will require even much attention, as much as youlearn.
As such, a patient suffering from anxiety will be forced to forget abouthimself or herself for quite some time to spend time with and train the animalusing the ball. In fact, it will require his or her ability to recall theappropriate skills to play with the got, thereby boosting his or her dogplaying memory and learning (Giuliania & Jacquemettaza, 2017). Ultimately,he or she becomes focused on the animal companion and spends less time worryingabout his or her fears, gradually reducing the anxiety levels (Baker , 1998). Social aspect People suffering fromanxiety disorder often worry about others judging their behavior.
Even so,animals are not judging; therapy animals are loving and accepting, as theyrecompense their human caretakers with unconditional love (Leslie et al.,2014). The Golden Retriever breed, for instance, is sociable, calm, and willingto learn. Despite their significant demand for attention and care, dogs andanimals used in AAT can significantly provide an environment for a patient totake great comfort knowing that the therapy pet is a reliable, non-judgmentalcompanion. Emotional aspect People suffering fromanxiety may experience mood disorders following their inability to handle theirworries and fears (Davidson, 2000). Moreover, low moods can be experienced as aresult of anxiety diagnoses and lack of strong social support.
These may befollowed up by anger outbusts. Statistics, however, shows that AAT has positiveimpact on mood and feelings of joy and happiness, and an increased sense ofmotivation (Leslie et al., 2014).
In another research conducted by Giulianiaand Jacquemettaza (2017), the authors revealed that patients who were anxiousbecause of their learning disabilities not only improved their learning andreduced their anxiety but also increased in happiness as a result of theirachievement.EvaluationPhysical aspectThe patient should be able to improve his or her eating behavior,increase his or her body weight, be active during the day, and have a goodpeaceful sleep during the night.Cognitive aspectThe patient should be able to worry less about his orher fears, record and share good memories, and learn new adaptive skills.Social aspectThe patient should be able to have more friends,establish a strong relationship with family members as well as the pet, andengage in more outdoor activities.Emotional aspectThe patient should have an elevated mood, demonstratejoy, confidence and happiness, and reduce his or her fears significantly. Forinstance, she should be confident when exposed to prior traumatic situationwithout losing her sense of joy.SecondDisabling Condition and Activity AdaptationConditionSocial impairment is a unique category of disablingconditions, which involves dissociation from and lack of individual involvementin relations with other people.
While it occurs with other mental anddevelopmental problems, such as schizophrenia, autism, and severe anxietydisorders, it can be triggered by substance-related behaviors, criminalbehavior, and at-risk youth among other disabling conditions. In this section,the second disabling condition that can be managed by AAT is substance relateddisorders.As established in the DSM-5, “substance-relateddisorders encompass 10 separate classes of drugs: alcohol; caffeine;cannabis; hallucinogens (with separate categories for phencyclidine orsimilarly acting arylcyclohexylamines and other hallucinogens); inhalants;opioids; sedatives, hypnotics, and anxiolytics; stimulants (amphetamine-typesubstances, cocaine, and other stimulants); tobacco; and other (or unknown)substances” (American Psychiatric Association, 2013, p. 481). These aredisorders of intoxication, dependence, and abuse, as well as substancewithdrawal as a result of the aforementioned substances, some of which arelegal while others are illegal. Adaptationand EvaluationPhysical aspectStatistics show that being idle is a major reason whypeople engage in substance use and abuse (Mills, 2013). Playing Doggie soccergame can be a means of engaging a drug patient in a body exhausting activity.In a controlled environment, using a dog and a ball, a therapist who ensuressuccessful therapy outcomes guides the patient.
As a result of this therapy,the patient should be able to be active, improve his or her appetite andeating, and have better sleep, leading to a healthy life. Cognitive aspectPeople suffering from substance-related disorders suchas dependence and intoxication are unable to control their thoughts about thespecific drug of abuse, and have impaired judgment (American PsychologicalAssociation, 2013). One way to control their thoughts is by engaging in AATactivities such as playing doggie soccer to divert their attention. Theyrequire a therapist who actively encourage them to divert their energiestowards the game and develop personal ability to resist the temptation oftaking a drug (Libal, 2014). As a result of this therapy, the patient should beable to not only resist the temptation of taking the drug, but also makerational judgments.Social aspectApparently, most substance-related disorder patientssuch as alcohol abusers experience severe withdrawal symptoms due toelimination of the substance (American Psychological Association, 2013).
Thesesymptoms can be so severe that the patient dissociates with other people. Evenso, Doggie soccer game can be a means of enhancing relationship with the dogand family members. During the Doggie soccer game, a family member(s) shouldtake part in bonding with the patient and the dog. Following this therapy, thepatient should be able to associated with family members and learn how tobecome attached with them.Emotional aspectPatients who are intoxicated may suffer from moodlability (American Psychological Association, 2013). Engaging in Doggie soccergame can enable the patient increase his or her sense of joy. According toLibal (2013), drug abusers who engage in playful activities such as soccerenhances the feeling of positivity, courage, and more so, empathy.
As a resultof this therapeutic intervention, the patient should be able to be morepositive about the therapy and life in general, feel encouraged to take part intherapy and other personal activities, and be empathic about his closerelations who participate in his therapy. ReferencesBarker,S. D., & Dawson, K. S. (1998). The effects of animal-assisted therapy onanxiety ratings of hospitalized psychiatric patients. Psychiatric Services, 49(6), 797-801.
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