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Therapeutic Recreation



Longwood University's Therapeutic Recreation Program is accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and related professions (COAPRT). The Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreaton, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT) accredits baccalaureate programs in parks, recreation, tourism, sport management, event management, therapeutic recreation, and leisure studies offered at regionally accredited institutions within the United States and its territories, and at nationally accredited institutions in Canada, and Mexico.


What is Therapeutic Recreation?

Therapeutic Recreation is a leisure/treatment service designed to rehabilitate a person's level of functioning and independence in life activities. In addition, therapeutic recreation promotes health and wellness for persons with an illness or disabling condition to fully participate in leisure pursuits or life situations.

Recreational Therapy services are delivered by qualified professionals who utilize various methods to promote the independent physical, cognitive, emotional and social functioning of people disabled as a result of trauma or disease.

Benefits of Therapeutic Recreation

Improves quality of life
Educates participants about the value of leisure in their lives
Enhances independent living
Prevents decline in physical, cognitive and psychosocial functioning
Reduces secondary disability and associated higher health care costs
Reduces anxiety and stress related issues

What Do Recreational Therapists Do?

A recreational therapist utilizes a wide range of activity and community based interventions and techniques to improve the physical, cognitive, emotional, social, and leisure needs of their clients. Recreational therapists assist clients to develop skills, knowledge, and behaviors for daily living and community involvement. The therapist works with the client and the family to incorporate specific interests and community resources into therapy to achieve optimal outcomes that transfer to the real life situation.

For information regarding the Therapeutic Recreation program, contact program coordinator Dr.  Susan Lynch at 434.395.2542


Mission, Vision and Values of Therapeutic Recreation

The Therapeutic Recreation program mission reflects those of Longwood University and the Department of Health, Athletic Training, Recreation and Kinesiology.

"The Therapeutic Recreation program is committed to the development of ethical and socially responsible citizens prepared to contribute to the common good of society and to the welfare of the Therapeutic Recreation profession."

The vision of the Therapeutic Recreation program will embrace academic and societal trends and adhere to the needs of people on campus and in the local community.

Specifically, the Therapeutic Recreation program will:

  • provide a quality education that reflects distinguished academic preparation;
  • foster the awareness of leisure services and promotes the education of Therapeutic Recreation through programs and events on campus and in the community;
  • advocate as citizen leaders for acceptance and inclusion of all persons; and
  • prepare competent and qualified entry-level Therapeutic Recreation professionals.

At the core value that gives meaning and direction to the Therapeutic Recreation Program at Longwood University is the belief that all persons, regardless of any specific characteristic, have an inherent right to, and need for, leisure experiences with opportunities for expression.

We believe that leisure experiences provide opportunities for pleasure, freedom of expression, and self-determination, which enhance the quality of individual life and are vital to one's overall health and well-being.

We believe that the professional preparation program is grounded in leisure philosophy and theory that embraces the liberal arts, social and health sciences.

We believe in and are committed to such values as diversity, inclusive practice and enhancing the quality of life for all individuals.

We believe that our model curriculum of excellence will produce a competent, multi-skilled graduate committed to citizen leadership, social responsibility and professionalism.

We believe that faculty committed to continuing education, research, and professional service is essential to foster student performance and professional accountability.

We believe that the professional-education program in Therapeutic Recreation must include highly specialized and focused coursework in order to prepare our students for the increasing challenges facing professionals in therapeutic recreation, health-care and community organizations.

Furthermore, we believe that inherent in the professional's assumption of diverse roles and functions, there is a need to master professional competencies such as the certification standards of the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC), the accreditation standards of the Council on Accreditation of Parks, Recreation, Tourism and other Related Professions (COAPRT) and those designated by the Therapeutic Recreation Program within each specific course.


Assessment Documents

Graduating Senior Survey (When opening survey, a security warning appears.  Please select "options" at the top and click "enable this content" before beginning).


 Behavioral Assessment of Internship Training in Therapeutic Recreation (BAITTR)


Internship Evaluation Form (Juniors and Seniors)






Meet Our Majors


Name: Sarah Sprague


"I chose to major in Therapeutic Recreation because I wanted to help individuals with disabilities improve their quality of life through the pursuit of various leisure activities. I am currently a junior in the program. The Therapeutic Recreation program has taught me several leadership and teamwork skills that will assist me in working with other medical professionals. I would like to use my degree in Therapeutic Recreation to pursue a career in helping our military veterans and older adults in a community or clinical setting. I am glad I chose to pursue a degree in Therapeutic Recreation at Longwood University. Got Leisure?!"          




Name: Alecia McConnell


"I chose Therapeutic Recreation as a major because I truly believe participation in recreation and leisure activities can transform lives. I recognize the benefits and experiences I have gained through my own recreation and leisure interests, allowing me the opportunity to share those experiences and passions with the individuals I will soon be serving in my career.  My career goals in Therapeutic Recreation are to gain more experience working in a setting for adaptive sports and to work with wounded veterans and their families."


 Greg Pawlik 2011 photo


Name: Greg Pawlik


"I chose Therapeutic Recreation because my sister, who was born without a hip socket, received services from a professional. Seeing the professional work with other people to improve their quality of life made me motivated to do the same! I love working with the elderly, especially those with forms of dementia, and I plan to continue working with this population when I graduate. I went to Longwood University because of the small size of the school and the great people there. I am currently doing an internship at INOVA Mount Vernon Hospital where I get to work with people who have all kinds of abilities. I have seen TBI, Aphasia, Stroke, SCI, Malingering Disorder, Marfan Syndrome and many, many more! It is a great experience and I love being part of a treatment team, working hard to improve lives!"


 Bill Parker


Name: Bill Parker, CTRS, Recreation Specialist II, City of Virginia Beach Department of Parks & Recreation, Therapeutic Recreation Programs

Graduation Year: 1993

Quote: "I chose Therapeutic Recreation as a major at Longwood College/University because I wanted to make a difference in the lives of people that were limited in opportunities due to circumstances beyond their control." "I am honored to say I am a Longwood College/ University graduate when it comes up in conversations with people I meet and take every opportunity I get to explain why Therapeutic Recreation is such a good choice as a profession." "My life could have gone in so many other directions without making the decision to transfer to Longwood and major in TR." "I am glad I made the right choice."


Therapeutic Recreation Faculty

Rena Koesler 2011

Rená Koesler

Department Chair and Professor
Western Illinois, M.Ag., Texas A&M University, Ph.D., Michigan State University
Willett 104I
Dr. Koesler's Website


 Susan Lynch 2011

Susan Lynch

Program Coordinator and Professor
B.S., Lubbock Christian College, M.S., Texas Tech University, Ph.D., Texas Woman's College
Willett 104L
(434) 395-2542
Dr. Lynch's Website


 Ann F14

Ann F. Bailey

Willett 112
(434) 395-2544




Kirstin Whitely

B.S. and M.A., Kent State University
Willett 104M
(434) 395-2979