Recreational Therapy - VA Salt Lake City Health Care System
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VA Salt Lake City Health Care System

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Recreational Therapy

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National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events Independent Community Recreation Resources
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What is Recreation Therapy?

Recreation Therapy provides services to restore, remediate, and/or rehabilitate functional capabilities for Veterans with injuries, chronic illnesses, and disabling conditions. Recreation Therapy services embraces a philosophy of health promotion and disease prevention facilitated by qualified clinicians designed to support each Veteran’s self-directed, self-determined, and fully independent participation in their chosen life pursuits. Recreation Therapy services include assessment and treatment for physical, cognitive, emotional, psychosocial, and leisure deficits. Services are provided based upon applying the best available research evidence, using expert clinical judgment in consideration with the Veteran’s individual goals, preferences, and values. 

How are Recreation Therapists recognized?

Recreation Therapists are treatment team members in rehabilitation services and listed as a rehabilitation therapy service in the Joint Commission (JC) standards. In addition, recreation therapists are designated as treatment team members the inpatient rehabilitation standards of the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

Recreation Therapists are certified through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC), which requires a bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited university, a formal clinical internship and the passing of a national certification examination. A Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist (CTRS) must maintain their credential Academic programs in Recreation Therapy or Therapeutic Recreation emphasize course work in the physical, biological, behavioral sciences, and recreation and leisure theory.

Benefits and Positive Outcomes from Recreation Therapy Treatments

  • Development of leisure functioning and skills
  • Improvement of physical functioning including strength and endurance
  • Pain management
  • Weight management
  • Reduction in stress and anxiety
  • Development of positive coping strategies
  • Reduce social isolation
  • Improve social functioning
  • Promote constructive use of leisure time
  • Increase knowledge of community resources
  • Improve appropriate social functioning and interpersonal skills
  • Improve cognitive functioning
  • Improve independence in recreation

Recreation Therapy at the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System

Recreation Therapy Treatment Areas:


  • Acute Mental Health
  • Substance Use Treatment
  • Physical Rehabilitation


  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Substance Abuse
  • Homeless and Justice Services
  • Physical Rehabilitation & Adaptive Sports

How to get involved?

To be eligible for care in recreation therapy you must meet the identified diagnosis criteria and require a need for treatment. Please contact Recreation Therapy for details.

Contact Info


  • Bldg. 8

Contact Number(s)

  • 801-582-1565 Ext. 6300

Hours of Operation

  • 8:00am - 4:30pm