American Therapeutic Recreation Association

ATRA Definition Statement
Therapeutic Recreation is the provision of treatment services and the provision of recreation services to persons with illnesses or disabling conditions. The primary purposes of treatment services which are often referred to as Recreational Therapy, are to restore, remediate or rehabilitate in order to improve functioning, and independence, as well as reduce or eliminate the effects of illness or disability. The primary purposes of recreational services are to provide recreation resources and opportunities in order to improve health and well-being. Therapeutic Recreation is provided by professionals who are trained and certified, registered and/or licenses to provide Therapeutic Recreation.

The American Therapeutic Recreation Association's Code of Ethics is to be used as a guide for promoting and maintaining the highest standards of ethical behavior. The Code applies to all Therapeutic Recreation personnel. The term Therapeutic Recreation personnel includes Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS), therapeutic recreation assistants and therapeutic recreation students. Acceptance of membership in the American Therapeutic Recreation Association commits a member to adherence to these principles.

Principle 1 Beneficence/ Non-Maleficence
Therapeutic Recreation personnel shall treat persons in an ethical manner not only by respecting their decisions and protecting them from harm but also by actively making efforts to secure their well-being. Personnel strive to maximize possible benefits, and minimize possible harms. This serves as the guiding principle for the professional. The term "persons" includes, not only persons served but colleagues, agencies and the profession.

Principle 2 Autonomy
Therapeutic Recreation personnel have a duty to preserve and protect the right of each individual to make his/her own choices. Each individual is to be given the opportunity to determine his/her own course of action in accordance with a plan freely chosen.

Principle 3 Justice
Therapeutic Recreation personnel are responsible for ensuring that individuals are served fairly and that there is equity in the distribution of services. Individuals receive service without regard to race, color, creed, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability/disease, social and financial status.

Principle 4 Fidelity
Therapeutic Recreation personnel have an obligation to be loyal, faithful and meet commitments made to persons receiving services, colleagues, agencies and the profession.

Principle 5 Veracity/ Informed Consent
Therapeutic recreation personnel shall be truthful and honest. Therapeutic Recreation personnel are responsible for providing each individual receiving service with information regarding the service and the professional's training and credentials; benefits, outcomes, length of treatment, expected activities, risks, limitations. Each individual receiving service has the right to know what is likely to take place during and as a result of professional intervention. Informed consent is obtained when information is provided by the professional.

Principle 6 Confidentiality And Privacy
Therapeutic Recreation personnel are responsible for safeguarding information about individuals served. Individuals served have the right to control information about themselves. When a situation arises that requires disclosure of confidential information about an individual to protect the individual's welfare or the interest of others, the Therapeutic Recreation professional has the responsibility/obligation to inform the individual served of the circumstances in which confidentiality was broken.

Principle 7 Competence
Therapeutic Recreation personnel have the responsibility to continually seek to expand one's knowledge base related to Therapeutic Recreation practice. The professional is responsible for keeping a record of participation in training activities. The professional has the responsibility for contributing to advancement of the profession through activities such as research, dissemination of information through publications and professional presentations, and through active involvement in professional organizations.

Principle 8 Compliance With Laws & Regulations
Therapeutic Recreation personnel are responsible for complying with local, state and federal laws and ATRA policies governing the profession of Therapeutic Recreation.

National Recreation and Park Association

The National Recreation and Park Association has provided leadership to the nation in fostering the expansion of recreation and parks. NRPA has stressed the value of recreation, both active and passive, for the individual growth and development. Its members are dedicated to the common cause of assuring that people of all ages and abilities have the opportunity to find the most satisfying use of their leisure time and enjoy an improved quality of life.
The association has consistently affirmed the importance of well-informed and professionally trained personnel to continually improve the administration of recreation and park programs. Members of NPRA are encouraged to support the efforts of the association and profession by supporting state affiliate and national activities and participating in continuing education opportunities, certification, and accreditation.
Membership in NRPA carries with it special responsibilities to the public at large, and to the specific communities and agencies in which recreation and park services are offered. As a member of the National Recreation and Park Association, I accept and agree to abide by this Code of Ethics and pledge myself to:
  • Adhere to the highest standards of integrity and honesty in all public and personal activities to inspire public confidence and trust.
  • Strive for personal and professional excellence and encourage the professional development of associates and students.
  • Strive for the highest standards of professional competence, fairness, impartiality, efficiency, effectiveness, and fiscal responsibility.
  • Avoid any interest or activity which is in conflict with the performance of job responsibilities.
  • Promote the public interest and avoid personal gain or profit from the performance of job duties and responsibilities.
  • Support equal employment opportunities.