Recreation therapy in a straight-forward sentence is a therapy used to assist persons to develop skills, knowledge and behaviors for daily living and community involvement. It is simply the act of using recreation to heal and grow.
At Project Sanctuary, we use seemingly simple activities like art, bowling, and recreation centers to show that recreation is inexpensive and very accessible. You don’t need horseback riding and snowmobiling to have a recreational experience, or for it to be therapeutic and have lasting effects. But we do use high adventure activities such as rafting to help families discover ways to communicate, and we use horseback riding to show individuals how to handle a possibly stressful situation and manage their emotions because horses don’t always do want you want them to do.
Teaching the tools that military families need to thrive is an integral part of our therapeutic retreats. Project Sanctuary, in partnership with national, industry leaders, has tailored classes specific to our military family’s needs.
- “Healthy Marriage” classes are four hours of instruction and hands-on learning, focusing on relationships and communication. The Center for Relationship Education has been an integral part of fine-tuning the ever changing sessions to meet the needs of our families.
- “Money Matters, Family Matters” was created with First Command Education Foundation and is two hours of financial instruction based on the current needs of the class. Topics can range from basic budgeting to investing for the future.
In response to our family’s requests, we developed, with input from various leaders in mental health and PTSD, our own “Thrive Class, a Field Guide for Families Living with PTSD.” During this two-hour session, we focus on how to overcome hurdles and obstacles as a family. Mindfulness and tactile breathing close out this often very intense class.
The mental health needs of the military family is a core focus in both the therapeutic retreats and in our continuum of care. “Counseling” may take place on horseback or in a more formal one-on-one session. Project Sanctuary addresses the health of ALL family members, making us one of the few organizations in the country addressing the stresses of military life on teens and children.
Our program is run by a professionally led team that includes a registered nurse, licensed professional counselors, medical social workers, certified therapeutic recreation specialists and trained peer mentors. Our two-year program includes the following self-directed (not mandatory) elements:
• Counseling for any family member
• Emergency financial assistance
• Ongoing financial education
• Assistance with housing solutions
• Assistance with employment solutions
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