The Truth About “Chicken Soup for the Soul”


Their FAQs page says this:

“I have a title suggestion for a future Chicken Soup for the Soul book. How can I submit my idea?”  

Here is their answer: “We do not take book title ideas from the public. Please do not send us book title ideas.”

What This Means:

They have said in advance at their site that they do not want us to send any book title ideas.

The Truth About Recreational Therapy

Fact # 1: We are going to create a book!

Fact # 2: It is going to be an amazing and wonderful book full of stories about Recreational Therapists doing great things.

Fact # 3: I [Danny Pettry] am a visionary. I can kind of see into the future. I can visualize this book already as if it were already real. It is really awesome. I can’t wait for you to read it.

The Truth is: Chicken Soup for the Soul might miss out on a great book project:

We’re going to give Chicken Soup for the Soul the first chance to take on this book title. But if they don’t. so what – someone will. Even if we have to ask 145 publishers or self-publish it. But I don’t think it would take that many.

We’ll just have a different title for the same book. It doesn’t have to be a Chicken Soup for the Soul series book.

Action Steps YOU can do right now:


Click here to sign the petition asking Chicken Soup to approve our book project!


Click here to chip in $10 to help us Win the campaign. 

Review of Danny Pettry’s Anger Management Training for RTs (Webinar)


I provided a training on Anger Management tonight (9/21/16) and 52 people attended.

I love providing training sessions. It is my hobby.

I was really pleased to receive so many positive comments from the participants tonight.

Their comments were definitely positive:


I enjoyed. Learning the techniques in dealing with other people that have anger problems
Great analogies and examples of how anger can be portrayed. i.e the soda bottle, emotional bowel movement, etc. Very clever ways to describe anger to people of all functional abilities.
Learning different ways to handle the angry patients.  Glad you shared some of your situations too. I can relate with getting bit. Not a fun situation!
Love that it’s a lot of info in a short amount of time.
It is nice to earn CEU’s at home.
You kept the presentation moving quickly and didn’t get bogged down in unnecessary details.
I liked the section on the positive aspects of anger because that was new to me.
I loved the ease of access and that you are an engaging and dynamic speaker!
I enjoyed the personal stories from Danny as a way to relate practice to everyday use.
I enjoyed the many analogies that made things more tangible! I also enjoyed the information from several sources such as books, trainings, and counseling experience.
It provided more information about what to talk about anger management in a group setting. Thank you very much for this class!
The information was helpful and the presentation was interesting
I enjoyed that Danny was able to use quotes to help back up his education. I also like that he took the time to answer people’s questions individually. I also enjoyed the reference to shaking a coke bottle and opening it quickly versus opening it slowly as a comparison to anger.
The entire webinar was great.
Great information on anger…very useful!!!
Pinterest activities
Great job.
He really explained into details about the different types of angry
Very informative and interesting. Will you some of the activity ideas for my groups in adult behavioral health
Learning different coping skills with angry. Two different types of angry
I enjoyed learning about the different ways to help someone deal anger.  I agree with the deep breathing technique and how it helps lower blood pressure and calms the body.
Great relational examples, easy to follow.
Although it was more geared toward working with children I feel I can tweak the scenarios for my population I work with.
The discussion about our own anger as Recreation Therapists dealing with different people and different settings. I work in a prison so this is something I do a lot of self-care about.
It is nice to hear some of the personal stories and be able to relate to the work being done by you and others
I enjoyed the entire webinar. I really liked that we had a question and answer section! I gained knowledge on behavioral intervention.
I enjoyed watching the different strategies to use when someone is experiencing anger. for ex. ____ acceptance. Many of the residents I work with experience some form of anger and listening to some approaches on what to do is helpful.
I enjoyed the process of de-escalation you provided.
Review and reminders of how to deal with things.  It, anger management, really is controlled by you, your actions and reactions to people, others behaviors and verbal and nonverbal communications.

Thank You!

I enjoy the references that you use so if I need further information I know where to look!
Good pointers to respond to an angry person.
Thank you!
I enjoyed hearing your personal experiences and real life opportunity
Every webinar is packed with information
I loved the quotes and the hula hoop group he talked about. I’m definitely going to implement that group in my stress management/coping skills groups with my patients.
The power points and the topics covered.
had some new info on how to still validate others even when you are angry, had some good ideas discussed about how to incorporate these topics into different work places
Fun and informative
I learned more about myself and how to work with my own anger


What RTs say about


I [Danny Pettry] provided a FREE online webinar: “Anger Management” tonight (9-21-16). Over 75 signed-up for it and 52 attended the live training! I think that is great!

I asked why people would use my program ( for their CEU needs in the near future (in the evaluation question).

Here is what people said:

Danny always makes it so easy and convenient to earn CEU’s even while working full time. I know I don’t always have the time to go to all the conferences in my area, so to be able to earn CEU’s online on my own time is fantastic! What more can you ask for?!
This was my first teleconference with you & I thought it was great!
I have my five year in 2017, I know I will be needing CEU’s in the near future.
But online CEUS are a great help!
Because I can earn CEU’s at home and the CEU’s are accepted by NCTRC
They are cost effective and convenient.
Because you have been doing this since 2007 and I trust that I can get my CEUs through your program while gaining a lot of applicable knowledge simultaneously.
Because you rock!!! Seriously, your CEU program is great and the fact that I don’t have to travel and go anywhere is such a convenience! Thank you!
Because I have used them in the past and feel they are reliable, informative, and relatively affordable.
It was very accessible and easy to follow along with the presentation. The material was presented well with lots of analogies and strategies for working in the field.
First time use!
I think that this is a good way for people to get some continuing education without necessarily having to go around and spend a lot of money. I feel that it is important to be able to get a good mixture of continuing education throughout my career as a recreational therapist. Thank you!
It will be easy and convenient to use this.
Because I love the courses and information!!!
Convenient and reasonable priced
Because it helped me refresh my knowledge of anger management.  And it helps get my ceus
His CEU’s are great
Because he is very interesting and knowledgeable
Good information
I enjoy being able to access CEUs online and I think you do a great job giving a variety of courses.
Easy to access, good cost, able to do on my time.
The online courses are very easy to use and works well with my schedule
Because the courses are interesting, relevant, and you are very personable and easy to listen to and understand. You are one of us.
I’ve attended several free webinars and completed a self-study last year
I think education is a highly recommended thing to maintain your knowledge within your profession
It is an easy way for me, a stay at home mom, to complete some of my CEU’s.
Well explained and summarized with real life examples.
i enjoy danny pettry’s sessions
The courses are convenient and educational. While browsing the website, I saw several courses I’m interested in signing up for.
Easy to get CEUs. Applicable topics.
I always learn something new
Because I learned a lot and he was very informative

Need CEUs? Go here:

Note: courses in main CEU library are pre-approved by NCTRC!

Jack Canfield: Make this book possible!

I have a meeting with Jack Canfield (co-creator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series) on Sat. Sept. 24th.

I’m going to ask him to create a Chicken Soup for the Recreational Therapist’s Soul book. Imagine how awesome that book would be. I sure hope he says yes.”

I’m have a petition requesting Jack Canfield to make this book possible. I hope to present him with at least 1,000 signatures this Saturday.

Please go to the link below and sign the petition: 

Mindfulness with Debbie Tiger at ATRA.


Photo credit: CanStockPhoto

Debbie Tiger, M.S., CTRS presented a training session titled: Mindfulness as therapeutic recreation intervention. It was presented Tue. Sept. 13th in the Chicago-area at the ATRA annual conference.

I had plugged her session earlier during my session on Rec Therapy for children with Abuse-reactive needs. DBT was on the models I covered and mindfulness training is one of the four main skill sets taught in DBT.

Debbie provided a great session!

Mindfulness is about focusing on the here and now.

I had packed up all my stuff earlier on this date and put it in my car (because I was leaving, right after this session).

The student (Peg Connolly scholarship winner) reminded us to turn in our CEU forms at the front desk before we left to get credit. And then I realized, I didn’t have my CEU sheet with me.

I felt worried I wouldn’t get credit for this .90 session. Which is okay, because I have an abundance of CEUs and don’t need to have them. But I do like having CEU transcripts to keep as record of my trainings. The speaker provided some mindfulness practice exercises during this session as well. I tried really hard to focus on the moment and do the exercises without letting my mind wander to the CEU form, which was difficult. But it provided me with some awareness of how my patients could feel during therapy sessions with me when their mind is just someone else. I did get the benefit of getting my mind off my CEU form for a while and letting it go and using radical acceptance. After the session, I ran up to 3rd floor parking lot, got my CEU form, got it back and got credit! I told Debbie Tiger about my experience in the hallway after this session and how I actually benefited from it (by experiencing what a patient is dealing with – having mind someone else while in hospital setting).

One student at this session had passed the NCTRC exam a few days before the conference. She was hoping to get CEUs at this conference, but didn’t have her official “CTRS” credential yet. I told her it would still have been nice to have her CEU form as record of attendance in sessions. I made that mistake once when I didn’t need CEUs in the past.


Okay – back to this session

  • Mindfulness benefits include:
  • Better emotional regulation
  • Better emotion expression,
  • Better self-care
  • Better functioning in a variety of areas: social, emotional, mental, spiritual and functioning.


People with PTSD are often hypervigilant. They are overthinking. Mindfulness can help with this.

She showed popular mindfulness pictures that are often on facebook of the dog who is happy because he is in the moment with his owner and the man who is unhappy because his mind is all over the place.

Is your “Mind Full” are your being “mindful?”

Jon Zinn (2003) defined mindfulness along the lines of: a person is not mindful when she is not in the moment.

Debbie shared that we will never have this moment again. That once it is gone it is gone for good. She argued about enjoying the moment and being present.


Danny Pettry: it kind of reminds me of that Stephen King book, “The Langoliers.” They are these creatures that eat up the past.


She provided a few practice exercises:

  • 3-5-7 breathing
  • Hand on stomach breathing
  • 4-7-8 breathing for sleep
  • Focusing on a single minute (without buzzer on watch) just look at phone/ or watch/ or clock when you think it has been minute
  • Band of light exercise
  • Thought diffusion
  • Mindful of emotions


Mindfulness is good for when people just perseverate on something and can’t get rid of the thought. She suggested thought clouds of seeing the thought float away or letting it float down a stream or on billboards along the road that you drive by and can’t see anymore. Let those unwanted thoughts go – which is easier said than done.


She also talked about:

Radical acceptance of thoughts and emotions and what is happening.


She talked about the recreational therapist being present in the moment now. In example: if the patient screamed and cussed and hit you the day before. Then you might be still dwelling on some of those thoughts and it might be difficult to be with the patient today. Do not let yester’days thoughts about it cloud my mind.

She recommended yoga!

She talked about mindful communication.


She also talked about how mindfulness played a part in the Leisure Ability Model


At the end of this session, she played a neat youtube video that she thought reflected on being in the moment.

Here it is:

Video by Shea Glover: “you’re beautiful”

Living at the end of life: the TR Twist


Photo credit: CanStockPhoto

I had the privilege to attend a training session titled:

“Living at the end of life: the TR twist.”

I only attended part 1 out of the 2 training sessions.

This session was provided at the ATRA annual conference in the Chicago-area on Tue. Sept. 13th by:

Barb Stuebing, CTRS/R; and Lisa Frazior, CTRS.


Who attended?

They asked people to raise hands at different times: do you work with geriatrics? Community? Behavioral health?

I [Danny Pettry] was the only one in the room who worked with pediatrics.

One of the reasons I did attend: I started out in college way back in the late 90s thinking I would be a rec therapist with seniors in a skilled nursing setting or a nursing home or community for seniors. However, my first job was with pediatrics in behavioral health and I’ve worked there for 14+  years. I wanted this session as a re-fresher for working with people on the other end of the age spectrum.


Danny Pettry comments:

  • the truth is: we all die. It isn’t something we often talk about in our society. However, it happens. It is part of the life cycle.
  • The speakers asked how many of us were comfortable talking about it?
  • I proudly felt: I can do this because I am a mental health counselor, too. We received some discussion cards. My two partners in my small group became tearful. Why is that so contagious? I didn’t have physical tears, but my heart was crying. We discussed people in our own family.  I hope my parents don’t read this blog entry – but to be honest, I told them I attend this session because I know my parents are getting elderly and I know they won’t live forever and I know most likely they will pass away before me (unless I’m in an accident – which is likely because I’m on the interstate driving a lot). But It was tough stuff.
  • I didn’t attend part 2 of this training (the after lunch part) for a few reasons: I attended the mindfulness training, which is something I teach at work to kids, but have not had official training in, and because I had plugged the mindfulness training during the one I presented, and because this was just an emotional session. They had tissues.

Here is a link for the cards I was telling you about: (the link has a lot of resources).

Here is a link directly to the cards I was talking about:

The cards ask many things about death and dying. I want to get copy of them.


The speakers shared how sometimes a person would bring up a tough subject during recreation. They might be playing cards and feel distracted and feel open to share: I think I’m dying. I think it is my time.

The speakers wanted to know how many in the audience were capable and prepared to deal with that.


It is hard.

Danny Pettry experiences: I was completing a 60 hour practicum as a senior living facility. I was going several days a week. (this was probably early 2002 or early 2001). It was spring. One elderly guy was 100-years-old and active. His hobby was making wooden toys. He had a lot of them and they were very good quality: trucks, cards, boats, dolls. I was sitting beside him on the porch by the humming bird feeder that didn’t have any birds yet because it was too early in the season. I asked him what he wanted for his birthday. He said he wanted me to be there. His wife had passed. His only child had passed from old-age. His siblings had passed. He was alone, except for the wonderful staff and other people at the facility. I showed up on his birthday. He had passed the day before. I went through the stages: denial, anger, depression. It took me a while to accept it. And I had only known this guy for a few weeks. It is tough stuff. I admire the people who work with this population.


The presenters spoke that the goal is: provide the best quality of life right now. When people participate they are often able to process stuff. Danny Pettry: I thought this sounded a lot like mindfulness and being in the moment. Focusing on the future causes anxiety and worry.


The speakers presented about getting prepared:

  • having a health care power of attorney,
  • advance directive,
  • living will,
  • 5-wishes, and
  • polst.

DannyPettry: my father had told me many years ago that he had assigned my younger brother to that. He said because he lives closer and in town and could make a quick decision. I personally think my dad made that choice because he was afraid I wouldn’t say pull the plug like he wants. However, I think being more passionate, I’d be able to do so to stop the suffering (if that were to happen). I hope he goes peacefully in his sleep when it happens.


I didn’t attend part 2 (as I said above).

They played the David Bowie video on youtube (Changes) because they were talking about making changes in how care is provided. I felt a bit sad then too because I’m a David Bowie fan and he has passed away earlier this year. I’m not sure the speakers were aware of that. They may have been.

Below is a video Bowie released right before he passed away that I think is interesting. The presenters didn’t play the video below:

Decreasing aggressive behaviors in community TR settings

I had the privilege to attend a training session titled:

“How to address challenging and aggressive behaviors in community therapeutic recreation settings.”

This topic was present at the 2016 ATRA conference in the Chicago-area on Monday, Sept. 12th.

The speakers included:

Andrea Griffin, CTRS, CPRP, Tracey Craford, CTRS, CPRP, and Courtney Lucente, CTRS


I regret to say that I was running late and didn’t take a notepad t this session, so my blog entry is based on memory.

I did talk to one of the speakers at the end of this session and let her know that I like her philosophy.

They are a quality program.

They had talked about banning or kicking out a kid because of her behaviors.

The mother was irate. She said: “you’re the quality program. My child won’t get recreation otherwise. You’re qualified to meet the needs for kids with special needs.”

And they agreed. They really don’t want to leave any child out.

Danny Pettry: I really like there philosophy of doing what they can to get the child involved in programming.

The truth is: providing services for people who are aggressive is difficult.

And they had to do a lot of work to make it possible for the child (meaning child is safe, others in the program are safe, the staff are safe). While receiving recreation services.

They gave three case studies that consisted of males (adolescent ages). Small groups in the room read them to identify warning signs, triggers, and other needs. They worked together to create plans to help. They also worked together to connect the community centers database of information. They also worked with local police and churches in case a child runs.


Danny Pettry: Providing services for the community involves working with a lot of people. The person could have various diagnoses. Some could include: autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disabilities, conduct disorder, developmental disabilities, Alzheimer’s, and many others.


Their staff was trained in Crisis Intervention.


Danny Pettry: My professional experiences have been in psychiatric hospital. There has been a major move away from using physical, mechanical, or chemical restraints. Based on the hospital training I’ve received there have been many injuries (staff and patient) and often death of patients who were not able to breathe during the restraints.

I felt glad I attended this session.

I regret I didn’t have any additional notes for you here.

Should Rec Therapy require a Master’s degree to practice?


Photo credit: Canstockphoto

Should RT require a Master’s degree as entry level?

I had the opportunity to attend a training session titled, “What next… is it time to move towards a master’s degree as an entry level degree [in recreational therapy] – is this the way to?”

This session was on Sun. Sept. 11, 2016 at the ATRA conference in the Chicago-area.

It was co-presented by several wonderful people, including:

  • Fran Stavola Daley, Ed.D., CTRS
  • Teresa Beck, D., CTRS
  • Deb Hutchins, Ed.D., CTRS
  • Anne Richard, M.S, CTRS; and
  • Candy Ashton, Ph.D., CTRS

And the big news is: NCTRC is now requiring a master’s degree. [JUST KIDDING, they didn’t say that].


They presented a chart to show what our allied professional require as an entry level position:


Nurses:                                                associates degree, bachelors, or master’s degree

Physical therapy:             moving to a doctorate

Occupational therapy:   masters or doctorate

Speech language:            masters (since 1965)

Social worker:                   bachelor or masters

Counselors:                        masters

Child Life                            moving from bachelors to masters

Art therapist:                     masters (since 70s)

Music Therapist:              bachelors: moving to masters

Dance/ movement therapist: masters

Drama therapist:              masters

Psychology:                        masters or doctorate

Rec therapy:                      bachelors


  • Please note: OT and PT make more than a psychologist who require a Ph.D. to practice.
  • Requring a master’s degree in Rec Therapy may not increase pay/ salary for RTs
  • A Master’s degree in Rec Therapy would provide greater protection to the public/ consumers of services.


  • One problem: Our profession lacks the current doctorates to teach courses to prepare students for a master’s degree.


Who would mandate that a master’s is required?

Anne Richards (with NCTRC) said that they are “glad to be on the bus [driving towards a master’s degree] but they aren’t going to be driving the bus.” NCTRC won’t mandate this.

The mission of NCTRC is to protect the public/ consumers by promoting quality.

The three things needed for practice consist of: skills to do the job, knowledge to do the job, and ability.

Those with a bachelor’s degree are trained in those three areas.

Danny Pettry comments:

There is a debate about requiring a master’s degree to practice Rec Therapy. Some argue because many of our allied professionals require an advanced degree to practice.

I personally think that a bachelor’s degree to practice is right for rec therapy (at least right now). Here are a few reasons why I think this:

  • Affordability of degree: there are many people (students) who can afford to get an undergraduate degree and by raising the bar, we could be losing professionals.
  • Marketability to employers: other allied professional require a higher degree to enter and are often higher salaries. We, RTs, can argue to hire several RTs at a more affordable rate opposed to one higher paid – master’s degree professional in a related field.
  • Not quite possible: our profession is currently lacking the number of doctorates to provide the training for master-level degrees.


I [Danny Pettry] think:

Bachelor’s degree with license to practice should be the entry level. I’d argue that the CTRS exam should be used as the exam for the license as well. We don’t need to have two exams. Why reinvent the wheel?

Master’s degree is bench mark for those who earn a specialty certification (by NCTRC). Those with a master’s degree provide a higher quality of service that is more specialized for better outcomes and higher patient protection. Those with a master’s degree can go on to teach as adjunct faculty, be mangers of departments, consult, train, and provide online courses (like I do):

Doctorate: Be professors at a university. Conduct research. (Altough people with bacehlors or masters could do that too – the doctorate is more capable (based on their experience). The doctorates can also be practitioners (bachelor’s degree) or do services provided by master’s degree and possible charge more.

Now is the time to get a Ph.D. in Rec Therapy!


Picture above: Left: Cari Autry; Right: Syd Sklar

Reasons to get a Ph.D. in Recreational Therapy

I had the wonderful opportunity to attend a training session titled: “Graduate Study and Careers in RT High Education.” This session was presented by Cari Autry, Ph.D., CTRS and Sydney Sklar, Ph.D., CTRS on Sun. Sept. 11, 2016 at the ATRA conference in Chicago.

Cari Autry and Sydney Sklar both received earned their doctorate degrees from Florida International University.

Recreational therapy is lacking faculty, particularly those with doctorates in RT higher education.

They suggested that we in the audience could be the key to the survival of our profession. They high recommend for others to get their doctorate or master’s degree. There were several of us in the room who already had a master’s degree, including myself, and one girl from Iowa. There were several students in master degree and doctorate programs.

DannyPettry: I’m very pleased and happy to see so many people doing this. The need is high.

According to a recent study, there were only 9 doctorate students in 2009. Recently there were 12 open positions at colleges and universities needing an individual with a doctorate.

In a nutshell: we need more professors.

Overall, a person with a Ph.D. and CTRS credential is pretty much guaranteed a job due to the number of positions that are needed.

A person with a Ph.D. in a related field with CTRS and background experience in Recreational Therapy would also be well-suited for these positions.

Those with a master’s degree in the field and with experience working in the field would be eligible for adjunct faculty positions. They recommended those with M.A/ M.S. degree to volunteer to be a guest lecture for a day at these colleges. This could be a good way to get your foot in the door.

DannyPettry: if you got a full-time position as faculty with master’s degree then you might want to work on earning your doctorate while teaching and being on campus.

What does getting a doctorate degree take?

  • 30 credits hours that consists of research methods and statistics
  • Additional credits in content/ area of specialty
  • Dissertation

There are a lot of classes on statistics. I suggested that Syd S. to write a book, statistics made easy for people.

The dissertation process consists of:

  • Topic
  • Prospects
  • Data Collection
  • Results/ conclusion
  • Defense (date and defend dissertation
  • Graduation!


Benefits of being a college professor:

  • Creativity
  • Autonomy
  • Sabbatical leave
  • Summer off (Dr. David Austin sent me a message and said that few have summer off). Based on my personal experience: I took summer classes every year so I know a lot work during the summers too.
  • Flexible schedule
  • Campus life – music, art, speakers,
  • Culture of the campus and town
  • Sometimes kids go to college free (if you’re a professor)


  • Jobs outlook claimed that an assistant professor salary is: $65,372. Of course this will vary/ range.
  • 2013: The Economists: RT least likely to be replaced by technology.
  • RT ranked among 10-best paying jobs for a bachelor’s degree (


The focus of this session was on the need for doctorates because there is a growing need for college and university professors to teach programs.

It is noted that Barbar K. (had posted on the Therapeutic Recreation Directory on Facebook these additional thoughts:

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”0; URL=/recreationtherapy?_fb_noscript=1″ />“My only additional thought is that there are other uses for the Ph.D. besides professor or research. It would be particularly beneficial to people in private practice, independent contractors, consultants, writers (wink) and in other settings.”


Danny Pettry comments:

I ran into Tim Passmore (Oklahoma University). He told me it was time for me to get my doctorate.

I, Danny Pettry, am seriously thinking about it. I’d complete the program through Clemson’s distance education.

Danny Pettry with ATRA board members


9/13/2016 – ATRA, Chicag-Area

From left to right: Dawn De Vries, (Danny Pettry), Marilyn Radatz, and Tim Passmore

  • Dawn De Vries served as President of ATRA for the 2015 to 2016 term.
  • Danny Pettry (myself) became a Lifetime Member of ATRA during this year.
  • Marilyn Radatz is the current 2016-2017 President of ATRA!
  • Tim Passmore currently serves as the Secretary of ATRA.  Tim is also an associated editor for the Annual in Therapeutic Recreation.