Recreation Therapy Internship

Recreation therapists (RT) provide five hours of programming, seven days a week on the inpatient psychiatric unit. Their scheduled hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with two evenings a month for animal-assisted therapy for inpatients. Recreation therapy is also provided five hours a day in the partial hospitalization program, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Training Provided

  • Comprehensive crisis management
  • Fire safety
  • Infection control
  • Hospital orientation
  • The Joint Commission and ATRA standards and documentation requirements
  • Development of program plans based on the three treatment areas; socialization, leisure education and community reintegration
  • Facilitation/group leadership techniques
  • Weekly one-hour clinical supervision by the program recreation therapist
  • Daily constructive feedback
  • Observations of all the multi-disciplinary programs
  • Increased knowledge of multi-disciplinary team members
  • Opportunity to work with outside agencies: Department of Child and Family Services, Screening Assessment for Social Services, community mental health workers, schools and community recreation facilities.
  • Educational training/in-services that provide information on current trends related to patients’ treatment
  • Community reintegration


  • Facilitation of a minimum of two RT groups daily that address patients’ needs
  • Implementation of behavior modification programs as developed conjointly with the multidisciplinary team
  • Attendance and participation in daily rounds and treatment team meetings with the multi-disciplinary team
  • Attendance and participation in treatment team meetings
  • Attendance at didactics/in-services for educational training
  • Responsibility of carrying a caseload of up to six patients for documentation; initial assessments, reassessments, treatment goals, interventions, progress notes, and discharge planning/community referrals following the Joint Commission and ATRA standards of care
  • Cleaning of  supplies for all activity rooms, especially after facilitating a group
  • Provision of a safe environment for staff and children
  • Completion of a quality internship project in consultation with supervisor, meeting scheduled deadlines
  • Completion of all other university requirements in a timely manner
  • Follow-through on tasks assigned by the recreation therapist
  • Adherence to the personal and professional development criteria as identified in the Therapeutic Recreation Intern Evaluation developed by The American Therapeutic Recreation Association
  • Ability to work one weekend and a minimum of four evenings when assigned to the inpatient unit


To be eligible to apply for a recreation therapy internship, the following criteria must be met:

  • Student must be enrolled in an accredited university/college in recreation therapy or therapeutic recreation.
  • All coursework must be completed.
  • Have a current contract between the university/college and the hospital on file, or the university/college must be ready to contract with the hospital if the student is accepted.
  • Ability to provide proof of liability insurance in writing once accepted.

When the above requirements are met, the student may then apply. Applications will be accepted at the following times:

Fall Semester: March 1–April 30
Spring Semester: July 15–September 15
Summer Semester: December 1–January 31

Program Recreation Therapists

Chelsea Harris, CTRS
Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
College Internship Coordinator and Supervisor
Full-time Recreation Therapist on the Inpatient Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit
Received her BS in Recreation Therapy from California State University, Chico

Molly Sliwa, CTRS
Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
Part-time Recreation Therapist on the Inpatient Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit
Received her BS in Recreation Therapy from Indiana University

Amy Carrabine, CTRS
Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist
Full-time Recreation Therapist on the Partial Hospital Program
Received her BS in Therapeutic Recreation from Grand Valley State University