Need inspiration and encouragement?

Do you have goals for 2017?

Download (for FREE) and Read “Almost Magical.”

It is a little ebook with inspirational quotes that might inspire you in 2017! Go here to get it for free:

Just one request: “Share” the link to let more people know about this free ebook!

magic_bookyour friend, Danny.

Staying balanced when you’re an Empath

I think I am an Empath. I am very empathetic. As I believe most of us, recreational therapists are.

I’m a big fan of The Chopra Center and Deepak Chropra.

Melissa Eisler had written a post titled:

how to stay emotionally balanced if you’re an empath.

I often feel as if I have “caught” emotions from others. A professional term for it is vicarious trauma.


Here is the link to her article:

Staying motivated..

This is a post from my older blog, hiddensecretwisdom.blogspot.

A review of:
Zupek, R. (November 26, 2009). 5 ways to stay motivated after the perks are gone. Retrieved November from:

Rewards are an extra motivator. An extrinsic reward will never be a good substitute for intrinsic motivation and reasons.

“5 ways to stay motivated after the perks are gone,” by Rachel Zupek was an article on today. The first thing that came across my mind was “external motivation vs. internal motivation.”

I actively promote: autonomy, free choice, self-direction, and internal motivation as a recreational therapist practitioner. I am opposed to behavior modification (b-mod). Alfie Kohn has presented the disaster results of b-mod in his books. Amazon search or Google search Alfie Kohn for more information. Basically, Kohn argues that behavior-modification is not effective at long-term behavior change. It is only effective for a short term period (until the reward ends). A person who is only motivated to do something because of rewards is not being authentic and real. They’re being manipulated or bribed into doing a behavior. The big question is: will the new behavior continue once the b-mod plan ends? In other words, will the person continue doing the behavior without a reward? Or, will a person need to be on a b-mod plan for the rest of their life?

Monetary rewards have not been a strong motivated in my own life. I had read job postings at several places that paid more than my salary that didn’t require a degree. I could have left my job to get the “reward” more money. However, my reward is internal. I get an internal satisfaction and pleasure from being a recreational therapist.

Last Wednesday, I read in the paper that there was an unclaimed million dollar lottery ticket. My co-worker, a mental health technician said it wasn’t hers and that she checked her tickets twice just in case. I don’t play, so I know it wasn’t mind.

The school teacher said, “Danny, if you won, you’d still work.” She went on about how I wouldn’t know what I’d do with myself.” She is right. I would still be doing the work I love with or without the money.

Companies are cutting back rewards and other perks for employees due to the economy. They may cut free coffee, free ice, holiday parties, holiday gifts and bonuses. Many times the company is cutting these extra perks to pay for your (the employee) salary. If you had to make a choice between reductions of salary versus a reduction in free coffee, I’d imagine most people would rather keep their salary. However, salaries may be cut, too, in some places.

Here are the five basic tips suggested by Zupek:

a.) “Get over it.” Basically, let it go. Release your negative feelings about it. This reminds me of the book, “The Sedona Method” on letting things go.
b.) “Find motivation.” Seek internal motivation. Think about the real reasons you decided to work at this job.
c.) “Create your own perks.” Bring in a reward for the office. You could bring coffee and doughnuts one day. A different employee could do it the next day.
d.) “Understand what is till being offered.” Be sure to be aware of what perks the company is still offering. Use them.
e.) “Focus on the solution and not the problem.” By taking on this challenge you’ll become a better person (i.e. improving your own skills).

Here is Danny’s 6th suggestion:

Be grateful. This is what I use. No matter what happens at the place I work, I can be grateful for many things. I have a job. I’m glad I get to help children. I’m glad I’ve got several friends at work, I’m glad I live close to my job. I’m glad my job is in my home state. I’m glad I’m building experience. I’m glad for many more things. I think gratitude is the best answer.

Online: Source:

Zupek, R. (November 26, 2009). 5 ways to stay motivated after the perks are gone. Retrieved November from:

30 year journey with MS

Kellie Alderton (Author) and inspirational speaker had written a book.


Kellie says:

This book details my almost 30 year journey with MS from diagnosis to now living symptom free. This is more than a book about MS, it’s a book about how the mind, body, and spirit are connected and how you must focus on each area if you wish to be truly healthy, whether you are living with a condition like MS or not!

Click here to get this book

Resources for Rec Therapy (individual or group sessions)

canstockphoto3355752One of my co-workers shared this amazing site today, titled:

It has:

  • Resources: worksheets, videos, articles, and links to products.
  • Help with Emotions: anger, anxiety, stress, depression, and grief.
  • Therapy models: DBT, CBT, Motivational interviewing
  • Topics: goals, education, communication, art, self-esteem, and values.
  • Ranges for: children, adolescents, and adults.

I think RTs will love this: 

[0.1 CEUs] — Rec Therapy Month Webinar

rtmonthaFebruary is Rec Therapy Month!
I’m presenting a free webinar:
The difference between recreation activities and recreation therapy.
(0.1 CEU) provided.
Date: Wed. Feb. 1, 2017. Time: 7:00 p.m. (eastern time).
Of course, you already know the difference.
If you enjoy the webinar you can get access to replay the webinar at your facility to help educate your co-workers about recreation therapy.
best wishes.
your friend,

ATRA goes with Drohan Management Group

Marilyn Radatz, MS, CTRS, the current ATRA President (2016-2017) sent an email to announce that:

canstockphoto13621557-1ATRA is now using Drohan Management Group for Association Management Services.


My personal thoughts, I hate that our association is going to lose Kelly Evans (at Association Management Systems). She is such a wonderful person.


My thoughts on the new group are positive. Drohan Management Group is located in Reston, Virginia, which is right outside of D.C. I think it is great that ATRA has a location close to D.C. again.


Another thought: I hope ATRA decides to go back to the mid-year conference in D.C. every other year. I don’t think they will because of numbers. I think we, ATRA members need to make the numbers happen. The day on the hill is very helpful to advocating what we, recreational therapists do.


Danny Pettry, ATRA Lifetime Member

Delivering Happiness [the Zappos Way] — A Model for Rec Therapy Service Delivery


(c) CanStockPhoto

A Personal Reflection, Review, and Suggestion for Rec Therapy Application of

Tony Hsieh’s (2010) book, Delivering Happiness, with applications to Rec Therapy Practice


Hsieh, T. (2010). Delivering happiness: a path to profits, passion, and purpose. New York: Business Plus.

By Danny Pettry

Seth Godin is one of my favorite authors. I read everything he writes and almost everything he recommends. Godin said this about Tony Hsieh’s “This book is funny, true, important, and useful. Just like Tony.” I decided to read the book.

Tony Hsieh became the CEO at Zappos at the age of 24. Zappos originally sold shoes online. The company now claims to provide customer service and happiness as well as many other online items. Today, the company is owned by Amazon.


Hsieh’s book has three sections.

These include:

Part I: Profits

Part II: Profits and Passion

Part III: Profits, Passion, and Purpose.


Reading is the secret. Hsieh shares this right in the preface that, “at Zappos, we encourage our employees to read books from our library to help them grow, both personally and professionally.”  Here at Rec Therapy CEUs, we also encourage recreational therapists to read books for the same reason.


A Review of Part I: Profits

                Hsieh provides an autobiography of his own life as an entrepreneur.  I personally enjoyed Hsieh’s concept of poker in business.

Hsieh suggests:


  • Play [poker] games you understand. It is hard to win at a game a person does not know well. “This reminds me of effective recreational therapy practice. Provide interventions that you have had training and experience to provide.
  • Remember you always change tables. Recreational therapists might realize they are not happy or as successful in a certain area and they may want to work towards moving into a position they are better suited for. I have often heard recreational therapists say they would never want to work with a certain population and to realize they have a strong passion for it once they have tried it out.

There is a bigger purpose at play

Hsieh shared, “research from the field of happiness would confirm that the combination of physical synchrony with other humans as part of something bigger than one self leads to greater happiness.”

This appears to be the case with recreational therapy. We, too, are working on a team with many other professionals to help patients. I feel there is something “bigger” to everything we do in life. There is a greater purpose.

Profit is best achieved when a person understands what they are doing (competency), has a passion for it (loves it), and feels they are (part of something bigger).

Rec therapists can be successful as well when they develop continued competencies to do their job and to continue to grow and following passion. Recreational therapists may want to think that their purpose is beyond simply working for xyz hospital, or making a salary, or being a recreational therapist. Recreational therapists may want to seek out something bigger.


A Review of Part II: Profits and Passion

                Profits are important. Hospitals (where most Recreational Therapists) work need profits in order to stay afloat. Valuable services are provided when a hospital is profitable. Those that go out of business are no longer providing services for the community.

Hsieh discusses times when Zappos struggled with profits. He was real with the staff, letting them know the importance of getting back to being profitable.

  • Provide better customer service.

This goes far beyond just being good to customers. It includes being good to everyone, like the vendors. All people are treated well.

Hsieh provides a list of 10 ways to instill customer service into your company on page 147.

In a nutshell, these concepts included: everyone in the company is responsible for customer service, WOW people, empower employees to provide great services, be real (no upselling or phony scripts) in conversations, customer calls are a way to build rapport, hire people who love customer service, all people get customer service.

I personally believe recreational therapists are people (in general) who are already good at heart and treat people well.


  • It is not about selling shoes at Zappos. It is bigger.


This is a lot like saying, it is not about the “Activity” in recreational therapist. It is about meeting the target goals the patient has, such as increased stamina, increased interpersonal skills, and increase independence in identified functional areas.


Ask Anything  – an open culture

 Zappos has an open, transparent culture. Employees can ask the company anything (with or without using their name). These questions and answers are emailed monthly.

An employee could ask:

  • Is the company profiting?
  • When is the holiday party or company picnic
  • Where is the company going to be in three years?
  • When is national ice cream day?

Recreational therapists could encourage this process to take place at their facility, pending the administration is open to it. Recreational therapists could give them a copy of Hsieh’s book.


  • As you grow, you might need to move “to a bigger [poker] table

Zappos started to provide more accessories beyond shoes.

Recreational therapists may want to strive to provide more services beyond recreational therapy for customers. Recreational therapists may want to supervise interns, provide trainings for fellow staff, and organize events for hospital / agency employees in effort to boost morale (pending administration approves).


Have Core Values

There company solicited values from employees. Some of the values were overlapping. They narrowed it to this list:

The Ten Core Values at Zappos include:


1.)    Deliver WOW Through Service

2.)    Embrace a Drive Change

3.)    Create Fun and a Little Weirdness

4.)    Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded

5.)    Purse Growth and Learning

6.)    Build Open and Honest Relationships with Communication

7.)    Build a Positive Team and Family Spirt

8.)    Be Passionate and Determined

9.)    Be Humble.


Hospital/ agencies often have their own list of values. Do employees actually know what they are? Do they buy into it?

Recreational therapists could take the initiative and choose to be leaders in the company core values. Recreational therapists could volunteer to help develop these values for their company if they are not already created. Of course, I am idealistic. I understand that recreational therapists are often already pretty busy people. And I’d like to point that Hsieh suggested, “do more with less.”

Recreational therapists could create their own personal values for work.

At my hospital, we have “WOW cards.” Anyone can fill one out by identifying a staff and writing why they provided a wow.

At my own company, Rec Therapy CEUs shares several of those same values such as: have a growth mindset and being determined and passionate and of course being humble.


Employee Training at Zapppos

                Zappos provides courses for their staff. These include: communication skills, coaching, science of happiness, leadership, public speaking, stress management, manager orientation, time management, grammar and writing, how to write effective emails, and many more topics. Employees can receive pay rate increases for completing courses as well.


A Review of Part III: Profits, Passion, and Purpose

                This was the smallest chapter. The focus was on “taking it to the next level.” It felt very Rogarian in the style of Carol Rogers. The three basic tips were: be passionate, tell personal stories, and be real.

Two books suggested were: Good to Great and Tribal Leadership.




Hsieh, T. (2010). Delivering happiness: a path to profits, passion, and purpose. New York: Business Plus.


Humor Therapy – Carla Riechman


(c) CanStockPhoto

I met Carla Riechman on facebook.  She operates the web-site

I felt confident that recreational therapists would want to know about her site and resources.

Carla was kind enough to submit the following information for the Rec Therapy blog, include the quote of the day – which is right on target.

Here it is:

The Quote of the Day for Monday, January 23, 2017.

“Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.”–Lord Byron

We have all heard the expression “Laughter is the best medicine.”

Do you have any idea how true that statement is?

Laughter does wonders for both our physical and mental health. It’s obvious we feel mentally good after watching a funny movie or after a fun event.

Did you know that laughter optimizes the function of all your internal organs? Your heart, your lungs, your digestion all act more effectively and efficiently after a good laugh.

The laughter can be genuine or forced. It doesn’t matter. Your body still benefits from the laughter. A lot of research has been done to backup this claim.

Laugh when you feel negative and/or sick. You will feel better after a good laugh.

Laughter Meditation as taught by The Giggle Fest at Giggle Fest University will give you an experience of the true power of laughter.

Click here NOW for information on Laughter Meditation

👉 👈

Be one with your giggle or chuckle with a smile on your face and laughter in your heart.

Carla Riechman

How RTs can get more recognition.


  • Rec therapists (some, but not all) have complained to me over the years that they are not respected and recognized as well as their allied professionals.

My Feelings:

  • I strongly believe that our allied professionals may be advancing more often because they require more continuing education.  Unfortunately, many professionals do not independently continue their education. Therefore, agencies (like hospitals), state license boards, national certification boards have all set a minimum level of required continuing education hours per year.

Some Examples of the Difference in Continuing Education

Recreational therapists must earn 50 continuing education hours in five years in order to maintain their certification with the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC).

Let’s see what other professionals require:

  • Physical Therapists must earn 24 continuing education hours per year to maintain their state license in my state, West Virginia. That is 120 hours in five years. A physical therapist is getting 70 more hours (beyond the 50 hours that Rec Therapists are required) in a five-year period.
  • Speech Language Pathology and Audiology Therapists in West Virginia are required 20 hours of continuing education per year to maintain their state license. That would be a total of 100 hours in a five year period. That is 50 hours (beyond the 50 that RTs are expected to earn for their national certification) in a five-year period.
  • National Certified Counselors (NCC) must earn 80 continuing education hours in five years. That is 30 more continuing education hours (beyond 50 hours that Rec Therapists are required) in a five-year period.
  • Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs) in West Virginia must earn 35 continuing education hours every two years to maintain their license. That is a total of 70 hours every four years. Do you see the difference? A licensed counselor requires 70 hours in four years and a certified rec therapist requires 50 in five years.

I’ve not checked on other professional groups and organizations.

The National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC) appears to be working to encourage RTs to gain more knowledge and skills. They currently offer the specialty certifications (which require 75 hours of continuing education in a five-year period, among other requirements like a graduate degree or advanced certificate courses).

Here is the good news for you.

There are no limits to your continuing education.

You can make a choice to be a leader in the field.  You can earn well above and beyond the minimum 50 hours required by NCTRC.

I’d argue that it might be safer to go the extra mile on hours – just in case one hour isn’t accepted.

Of course, you’re probably aware that I provide online continuing education courses. However, RTs don’t have to go with my program. My program focuses on mental/ behavioral health. RTs may want to seek out other expertise areas and learn more. I’d be glad to help you in your search for those courses and training too.

Are you ready to take your own career to the next level?

I’d like to invite you to check out the self-study CEU courses that I offer Rec Therapists.

Go here:


Imagine what learning more can do for you in both your personal life and your professional life?

Best wishes and to your success.

Your friend and partner in Rec Therapy,

Danny Pettry.


P.s. here is that link again:

Go here: