Recreational Therapy in Adolescent Substance Use & Mental Health Treatment

We will give you the support and guidance you need to get started on the road of long-term recovery.

We Specialize In Adolescent Treatment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

According to the National Council, recreational therapy is a technique that utilizes activity-based interventions to address the unique needs of individuals experiencing mental health and substance use disorders. (1) The purpose of recreational therapy is to comprehensively improve all areas of life including social functioning, cognitive functioning, physical functioning and emotional functioning. At Guardian Recovery, we offer recreational therapy for teens and adolescents experiencing substance use and mental health disorders to aid them in developing adaptive coping techniques and reaching a sense of physical well-being. Contact us today to learn more about our adolescent mental health and teen addiction recreational therapy.

Start Healing Today!

Choose recovery and take control of your life, it’s the path to a brighter future filled with health, happiness, and fulfillment.

How Recreational Therapy Can Help Teens During Recovery

Recreational therapy can help teens in a variety of ways. Research has found that recreational therapy can help improve an individual’s cognitive ability, communication techniques, and social skills. (2)  

Benefits of recreational therapy include: (3) 

  • Providing structure –  It is important for teens in mental health, or substance use, recovery to have structured days and very little idle time. It is often beneficial for clients to continue participating in a group activity once treatment concludes. For example, they might sign up for a membership at a yoga studio or at a local gym. We help our clients figure out what it is they like to do and go from there.
  • Building self-esteem and helping clients develop a sense of self-worth – As they begin to recognize their own personal strengths, teens learn they are capable of doing much more than they previously thought. For example, a client who previously experienced a fear of the water might be encouraged to participate in recreational therapy involving kayaking or swimming. The client begins to recognize that overcoming personal obstacles is entirely possible, and it is possible to accomplish much more with a clear head.
  • Healing the body and the brain – Stressful life circumstances do quite a number on physical and mental health. Depending on the mental health concern, some clients who begin treatment are malnourished and nutrient-deficient. According to an article published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, frequent exercise improves mental health by regulating mood, improving self-esteem, reducing anxiety and depression and improving cognitive functioning. (4) 

The Role of Recreational Therapy in Holistic Treatment

Holistic treatment focuses on healing the mind and body as a whole. Recreational therapy activities — including physical activities like walking, participating in games and sports, weight training, aerobics and group hikes — are an important part of the holistic treatment process. (5) These activities promote physical activity, which not only encourages wellness but is an effective coping technique. 

Health & Wellness in Recovery

Mental health and substance use disorders are complex conditions in the sense that they have the power to destroy an individual’s physical and emotional well-being. Engaging in recreational activities does much more than encourage clients to interact with one another in healthy and productive ways. Recreational therapy helps clients build self-esteem and return to a state of healthy physical functioning. (6) Physical activities are also good for mental health. The more well-rounded a mental health or recovery program is, the better chance a client has over long-term success.

Types of Recreational Activities We Offer for Adolescent Treatment

Depending on the specific Guardian Recovery locations, the following recreation therapeutic activities may be utilized during our adolescent recreational therapy program: 

  • Group sports
  • Group hikes
  • Group outings

Additional Experiential Therapies We Provide

In addition to recreational therapy, some of our Guardian Recovery locations offer other holistic and experiential therapies, including music, art, and yoga therapy for teens experiencing mental health and substance use disorders. 

Music Therapy

Research has found that music can increase blood flow to areas of the brain responsible for emotional regulation. (7) During music therapy, each client learns how to express their emotions through music, and how to utilize music as a healing tool. Some benefits of music therapy include stress reduction, fostering healthy communication skills, improving cognitive function (specifically memory and attention span) and enhancing social functioning. (8) 

Art Therapy

This therapeutic method revolves around the expression of unresolved trauma or uncomfortable emotions through creative means. (9) Artistic expression can be a powerful healing tool, and art therapy helps our clients externalize what they are feeling in a healthy and productive way. Art therapy sessions are facilitated by a licensed therapist, and include drawing, painting, collage making and numerous other effective artistic exercises.

Equine-Assisted Therapy

During equine-assisted therapy, clients work with horses and horse specialists to help foster physical and emotional well-being. (10) During this form of therapy, clients may ride or work with the horses while simultaneously working with a mental health professional to process negative thoughts, feelings, and emotions. 

Yoga & Meditation

During yoga and meditation, the instructor walks throughout the class as they instruct, adjusting clients as necessary and offering them insight on how to manipulate each pose to better serve their unique needs and physical ability level. In most cases, clients end class with a guided meditation, as they learn to quiet their minds and stay rooted in the present moment. Clients are never pushed past their personal limits, and are always treated with a high level of compassion and respect. Research has found that yoga can help individuals increase their self-confidence and experience an overall sense of well-being. (11)

Complimentary Insurance Check
Find Out Today!

"*" indicates required fields

Name
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

What to Expect in Recreational Therapy

Below is a curated list of frequently asked questions regarding our teen rehab recreational therapy program.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will My Child Be Supervised During Recreational Activities?

Yes, each recreational activity is conducted by a licensed healthcare professional who supervises each client during each session. 

Will My Teen Be Transported for Recreational Activities?

It depends on where you and your teen reside. At Guardian Recovery, we offer local ground transportation for those enrolled in our services. 

Will My Child Associate With Children Outside of the Treatment Program?

Many of the other children that your teen may encounter are other teens enrolled in the treatment program. Clients typically associated with the same teens each week, as long as they are receiving treatment.  

Can Parents Participate in Recreational Activities?

Adolescent recreational activities are reserved for those enrolled in treatment. We offer family therapy sessions to allow parents the opportunity to be included in their child’s treatment. 

How Often Will Recreational Activities Be Held?

The frequency of recreational activities depends on the exact program that the client is enrolled in. Recreational sessions typically last about an hour. 

What Specific Activities or Programs Are Included in Recreational Therapy?

Specific activities depend on the treatment goals being addressed during that recreational therapy session. 

Some specific activities that may be included during recreational sessions include, but are not limited to:

  • Walking.
  • Participating in games and sports. 
  • Weight training.
  • Aerobics. 
  • Group hikes.

What Will My Child Learn During Recreational Activities?

Teens learn a variety of skills and techniques when engaging in recreational activities. Clients learn how to develop a sense of self-worth, and physical routines that can help heal the brain and body. 

Are My Child’s Particular Interests a Factor in Choosing Recreational Activities?

A child’s particular interests may be a factor when choosing whether or not recreational therapy is right for you or your adolescent. Children who are more interested in physical, or artistic activities, may enjoy recreational therapy more when compared to children who are not interested in these activities. 

Our Locations 

Our Facilities & Teams Transform Lives

Changing lives by providing comprehensive support and rehabilitation, empowering individuals to overcome addiction and regain control of their health and well-being.

Our Simple Admissions Process

If you, or your adolescent, are looking for a recreational therapist, Guardian Recovery can help. We provide evidence-based and comprehensive treatment options for teens and adolescents experiencing mental health and substance use disorders. Dedicated to providing an easy intake process, one of our Treatment Advisors can help guide you through our simple admissions process. A complimentary psychological assessment will be conducted in order to identify the presence of substance use or mental health concerns. Ask about our free, no obligation insurance benefits check to help you determine which of our treatment options is covered by your health insurance plan. We understand that searching for the right teen program may be a difficult process, but at Guardian Recovery we want to aid each teen reach their recovery and wellness goals. Contact us today to get started. 

SELF-ASSESSMENT:

Do I have an Addiction issue?

Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.

  1. https://www.nctrc.org/about-ncrtc/about-recreational-therapy/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8558542/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8558542/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8558542/
  5. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0740547295020083
  6. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00222216.1989.11969802
  7. https://www.pfizer.com/news/articles/why_and_how_music_moves_us
  8. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/music-and-health-what-you-need-to-know
  9. https://psychotraumanet.org/sites/default/files/documents/Schouten-the%20effectiveness%20of%20art%20therapy%20in%20the%20treatment%20of%20traumatized%20adults.pdf
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6917924/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193654/

Get Local Help

Helpful, Recovery
Resources

Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave

L.M.H.C.

Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Picture of Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

More About Author
Guardian Recovery

Check Insurance Coverage

Find out today what options are available to you. Fill out the form below.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Do it for YOU, Do it for LOVED ones

Live a BRIGHTER Future Today!

Guardian Recovery is here to assist you in your journey of healing.

Do it for YOU, Do it for LOVED ones
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Live a BRIGHTER Future Today!

Guardian Recovery is here to assist you in your journey of healing.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Do it for YOU, Do it for LOVED ones

Contact Alumni Services Today!

Guardian Recovery is here to assist you in your journey of healing after coming to one of our facilities.

Your Name
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Stay in touch ALUMNI

Join our alumni newsletter to get up to date information on events, news, and more.

Name
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Personalize Your Experience

Allow us to guide you to the information your looking for.

Begin HEALING Today

Check Insurance Coverage

Find out today what options are available to you. Fill out the form below.

Do it for YOU, Do it for LOVED ones

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
24/7 Help: (888) 693-1872