Tag Archives: Therapeutic Recreation

Introduction to Therapeutic Recreation

by Nancy Nisbett

Brief Description of Module

Ethics content is integrated throughout the therapeutic recreation curriculum. This module is being created as an isolated unit within the introductory therapeutic recreation class. The intent is to provide a basic level of ethics awareness, including a basic understanding of discipline-specific professional ethics, the ability to recognize ethical dilemmas, and the ability to use a decision-making model to solve ethical dilemmas. The rationale behind this approach is to introduce entry-level students to professional ethics as early as possible to facilitate applied content in succeeding courses.

Learning Outcomes

As a result of this unit, students will be able to:

1. Articulate an understanding of the meaning of ethics and what it means to be ethical

2. Articulate the purpose of a professional code of ethics

3. Recognize an ethical dilemma

4. Apply the code of ethics, using a decision making model, to solve an ethical dilemma
What students will learn:

  • Self-awareness of ethics
  • Distinction between professional, organizational and personal ethics
  • TR code of ethics
  • ‘Dilemma’ components, common TR dilemmas
  • Decision-making models

Learning Activities

Topic Method ClassTime
Introduction to unit

Discussion of ethics and being ethical



Pair work to create a definition of both Pair work 15
Why it is important to study Discussion 10
Professional Ethics
Difference between professional, organizational and personal ethics Lecture, Discussion, and Personal Reflection 10*
Purpose of professional ethics Lecture, Discussion 10
TR Code of Ethics
Purpose of a code of ethics Lecture, Discussion, Video 20
Introduce TR codes Lecture 10
Analyze codes and compare Group exercise 20
Using code in TR practice Practitioner exercise *
Ethical Dilemmas
What is an ethical dilemma
Lecture, Discussion
What are common TR dilemmas Lecture, Discussion, Practitioner contact exercise 15
Decision-Making Models
What is a decision-making model and why do we use Lecture 5
Types of decision-making model Lecture 5
Introduction of Chang Model

Go through steps as a class

Lecture and Discussion 10
Practice with model Group exercise 20
*exercise with practitioner using facility-based dilemma *
Discussion of exercises

  • Evaluate choices made
  • Pros and cons of decision
  • Mitigating factors
  • Ease of implementation
Discussion 20
Overview of future application Discussion 10
* outside class
4 class periods

Resources to be used by learners

  • Internet (webquest on ethical theories, other disciplines, TR websites)
  • Codes of ethics
  • Assigned readings (TBD)
  • TR practitioners (identify dilemmas and understand application and difficulties of application of codes)

Resources used to create/deliver unit:

Austin, D. R. (Project Director). (1995). Professional ethics [videotape]. (Available from RTV video, Indiana University, Department of Recreation and Park Administration, Bloomington, IN)

Berglund, C. A. (1998). Ethics for health care. New York: Oxford University Press.

Code of ethics and interpretive guidelines (1994). Ashburn, VA: National Therapeutic Recreation Society.

Finding the path: Ethics in action (1998). Hattiesburg, MS: American Therapeutic Recreation Association.

Kornblau, B. L., & Starling, S. P. (2000). Ethics in rehabilitation: A clinical perspective. Thorofare, NJ: Slack, Incorporated.

Ouimet Perrin, K., & McGhee, J. (2001). Ethics and Conflict. Thorofare, NJ: Slack, Incorporated.
Ethics Websites (TBD)
Assessment and Reflection

  • Reflective paper assignment
    • Assessed on ability to answer questions from unit including:
      • Personal definition of ethics and being ethical with justification from discussion and readings
      • Articulate understanding of difference between personal and professional ethics
      • Articulate how the code of ethics serves the profession with justification from readings and interview
      • Identification of code choice with rationale
      • Understanding of future applications and problems
  • Practitioner exercise
    • Assessed on ability to verbalize dilemmas discussed and articulate why they are dilemmas
    • Also assessed on practitioner feedback on ability to use model
  • Examination
    • Assessed on ability to appropriately use decision-making model