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Youth Recreational Therapy Services at Hillside

As one of the adjunct therapies offered by Hillside, our Recreational Therapy program supports the vision of healing and hope by empowering children to discover their unique strengths and abilities by using recreational activities as a group therapy modality. Children learn more effectively by participating in hands-on, active, engaging tasks that they enjoy.

​What is Recreational Therapy (RT)?

Recreation Therapy offers a broad scope of experiences designed as treatment interventions targeting specific needs as well as exposing children to new experiences that support growth, insight, and a stronger sense of self.

RT at Hillside uses components of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) as a service delivery model. SEL is the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills vital for school, work, and life success.

Benefits of Youth Recreational Therapy

Strong social-emotional skills help people cope with everyday challenges and benefit academically, professionally, and socially. From recognizing strengths to improved self- esteem, from effective problem solving to responsible decision-making; SEL provides a foundation for positive, long-term effects on kids, adults, and communities.

Recreational Therapy programs are beneficial for youth experiencing behavioral challenges like:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
  • Outbursts and Tantrums
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Depression
  • and other mental illnesses

What You Can Expect From Our Behavioral Recreation Therapy Program

Children attend RT sessions a minimum of daily at Hillside. They attend a weekly class to gain understanding of social-emotional competencies. The concepts are then discussed and applied experientially in daily sessions using sports, games, problem-solving initiatives, and expressive arts to allow practice and generalization of skills.

How many groups does RT provide weekly?


Including Recreational Therapy, Horticulture Therapy, SEE, Drumming and Art, RT provides 92 groups each week to our kids. We are proud of helping our kids master skills, discover new abilities, and supporting their path of healing and hope.

About Our Recreational Therapy Clinicians

Our Recreational Therapy department is staffed by Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS) in compliance with the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification standards.

youth recreational therapy team

Recreational Therapy Internships

We offer 16-week internships to undergraduate students enrolled in an approved college or university program as part of the path to certification.

CNBC cited Recreational Therapy as one of six careers worth going back to school for!

Questions About Our RT Program?

If you’re curious about our recreational therapy services and if your child or patient referral would benefit from our RT program, please use the contact button below to have someone from our department reach out to you. 

Hillside Resources

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News & Info

Hillside’s Intensive In-Home Therapy Program is GROWING!!

Hillside is hiring licensed clinicians for its Intensive In-Home Therapy program. You will work in conjunction with other mental health professionals to support children and adolescents who have higher acuity than your typical outpatient client. You will need to be...

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Day Program Updates & Outings

 Week of September 23rd, 2019We went through the Middle Path module, made dream boards in Advanced DBT. Our outing to Montclair assisted living was postponed and instead we played a Mr. Edwin game! (a hopscotch/candyland/rock, paper, scissors blend).We also saw a new...

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