Kevin Gruzewski is a recreation therapist who has worked with developmentally disabled adults as well as teenagers in the criminal justice system. I connected with Kevin through Amazon of all places! I was looking up my telehealth book, and under “Frequently bought together,” Amazon recommended Kevin’s book, Therapy Games for Teens: 150 Activities to Improve Self-Esteem, Communication, and Coping Skills. I figured, if some of my readers like Kevin’s books, I should let the rest of you know about him.
Recreation therapy is “a systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the assessed need of individuals … as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery, and well-being” (NCTRC). Recreation therapy often refers to outdoor activities, like athletic games and outdoor physical activities, but it can also include creative and artistic activities, animal assisted therapy, and mindfulness or meditation activities. If outdoor activities are not an option in your practice, the book still has many resources that you can implement with your clients.
Recreation therapy can be great for building rapport, especially with clients who might not be thrilled about coming for therapy. It incorporates activities that make therapy enjoyable and often does not look like “traditional” talk therapy. The movement activities that recreation therapy incorporates can be particularly helpful for those struggling with trauma.
Who doesn’t need more options in their toolbox for therapeutic interventions? Kevin’s book gives detailed instructions for implementing activities for a variety of presenting concerns. You can follow the instructions easily, but you can also customize the interventions based on the client’s unique needs, interests, and preferences. It is a great addition to any therapist’s library, especially those working with teenagers.
Kevin’s book came about from his blog, where he wrote about recreation therapy and shared resources for other therapists doing recreation therapy. (Sound familiar?) His website has some great resources and activities for therapists who want to make their therapy sessions more engaging and fun for clients. If you are looking for some free suggestions for your practice, check his blog out!
Currently, Kevin writes full time and is available for freelance work.