‘Psychological Needs in a Physiological world? How can we hope to breathe under water?’
In an Australian health context so focused on the physiological areas of disease and the mainly physiological treatments for most psychological issues. What if we viewed the psychological needs of the human being as important as the physiological? Oxygen, Water, Nutrition as important as Autonomy, Competence and Relatedness? That within our homes, our facilities and our hospitals the right for friendships, decision making and dignity of risk was seen as important as our rights to privacy, meals and clean lodging. This paper will discuss the work of therapeutic recreation in addressing psychological needs particularly as a treatment modality that is currently underused and undervalued in a healthcare context. In particular this paper will outline the innate human needs (Ryan, 1995) and their link to Self-Determination theory of Human motivation and personality (Deci & Ryan, 2000). This linking to current and emerging areas of therapeutic recreation practice and research. The paper in particular will outline the emerging research from the University of Wollongong’s Therapeutic Recreation initiative “Recovery Camp” (Moxham, Liersch-Sumskis, Taylor, Patterson, & Brighton, 2015). This a prime example of Therapeutic Recreation Practice that is a flagship of integrative practice harnessing Self Determination Theory of Motivation to further influence the treatment modality of Therapeutic Recreation. This paper is important not only for researchers and academics in the field of Therapeutic Recreation but the practical application of Self Determination theory to enhance therapeutic recreation practice. Motivation is a key component in any successful therapeutic recreation initiative and one of the primary explanations for an interventions success or failure. This paper will inspire practice by equipping attendees with the knowledge to develop their interventions to be psychological needs supportive and in essence life-supportive.