What is Recreational Therapy?

Recreational Therapy is a client-centred practice that recognises that leisure and recreational experiences are the right of all individuals.

Recreational Therapy practitioners work with people of all ages and abilities to design and facilitate leisure and recreation programmes. Activities are designed to support, challenge and enhance individuals' psychological, spiritual, social, emotional and physical wellbeing.

The Recreational Therapist provides opportunities for individuals to participate in leisure and recreational activities that promote self-esteem and personal fulfilment. The Recreational Therapist facilitates individual client choice, decision making and participation when developing and managing recreational programmes.

Purpose of Australian Recreational Therapy Association

The following objectives are adapted from the Constitution of the Australian Recreational Therapy Association (2022):

  • To consider all questions affecting the interests of ARTA and to promote or oppose legislative or other measures affecting matters concerned with Recreational Therapy as they affect its members and their practice.
  • To promote foster and advance the occupation and interests of Recreational Therapy in Australia.
  • To promote and support the development of Recreational Therapy in Australia and internationally.
  • To represent the interests of ARTA to health and community professionals in Australia.
  • To establish recognised educational programmes.
  • To communicate with associations, institutions or other bodies or individuals on matters of interest to ARTA members.
  • To enhance the status of Recreational Therapy throughout Australia.
  • To promote the study of the theory and practice of Recreational Therapy; to encourage research in Recreational Therapy; to bring together Diversional and Recreation Therapists for their common benefit and for discussions and demonstrations; and to disseminate knowledge of the principles and practice of Recreational Therapy
  • To consider and advise on courses of study and technical training and to disseminate information designed to promote and ensure the fitness of potential ARTA members.
  • To institute and provide conferences, workshops and other events pertinent to the practice of Recreational Therapy for the benefit of ARTA members and to invite those who are not members of ARTA when appropriate
  • To establish educational activities for Recreational Therapy trainees.
  • To establish or certify continuing professional development programs for Recreational Therapists.
  • To acquire, establish, print, publish, issue and circulate such journals magazines periodicals circulars calendars or other literary works as may seem conducive to the promotion of these objects or in any way beneficial to ARTA.
  • To establish the classes of membership of ARTA and to admit to the respective classes persons who are eligible in accordance with ARTA regulations and to maintain a register of members of ARTA.

Key Aims of Australian Recreational Therapy Association

  • Promote, foster, advance and advocate for the practice of Recreational Therapy and ARTA members.
  • Increase the professional body of knowledge and its dissemination.
  • Work toward national education standards and competencies.
  • Develop and foster cooperative national and international networks.
  • Recognise excellence in continuing professional development
  • Provide information regarding the implementation and outcomes of ARTA plans and projects

What Recreational Therapists Do

Work with clients of all ages in a range of health, community and leisure settings.

Employment areas and the scope of practice are continually expanding.

Employment opportunities exist in many environments including:

  • Rehabilitation & hospital units

  • Community Centres

  • Day and Respite services

  • Aged Care Residential Facilities

  • Ethnic Specific Services

  • Palliative Care Units and Outreach Programmes

  • Mental Health Services

  • Specialist Organisations

  • Private Practice

  • Consultancy

  • Management

Roles in the Recreational Therapy field are found within:

  • Disability services

  • Aged care facilities

  • Youth work

  • Local councils

  • Respite centres

  • Outdoor recreation and camps

  • Mental health

  • Hospital based

  • Holiday programmes

  • Health promotion

  • Correctional centres

ARTA Mission Statement

Australian Recreational Therapy Association is committed to promoting, fostering and advancing the development of the profession of Recreational Therapy in Australia and internationally. Its mission is to ensure that the practice of Recreational Therapy continues to be viable and relevant, contributing to the wellbeing of clients and the community, while encouraging education, professional and personal development in its members.

ARTA Philosophy

Recreational Therapy practitioners provide, facilitate and coordinate leisure and recreational activities which are designed to support, challenge and enhance the psychological, spiritual, social, emotional and physical wellbeing of individuals who experience barriers to participation in leisure and recreational pursuits thus affecting their quality of life.


Please review the policies, procedures, code of ethics, industry connections, best Practice documentation, Professional Development, Environmental and Email Communications Policy.

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