Date of Award

2-2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Recreation

First Advisor

Colleen Hood

Second Advisor

Lynn Anderson, Ph.D.

Abstract

Mindfulness training is recognized as an effective intervention technique for promoting physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing.In youth residential treatment facilities, youth who experience severe and persistent emotional and psychiatric difficulties participate in longͲterm therapeutic programming focused on their achievement of treatment goals, often related to coping skills and other life skills development.The purpose of this project was to create a manual for therapeutic recreation specialists working with youth in residential treatment facilities to use for learning to implement mindfulnessͲbased intervention techniques during therapeutic recreation programs with youth.For this project, literature related to best practices for facilitating mindfulness interventions as well as literature which supports the theoretical foundations for [therapeutic recreation mindfulness programming\ were reviewed. Information for the manual was also gathered during one year of field trials implementing therapeutic recreation mindfulness programs with youth 7 to 17 years old at Stillwater Residential Treatment Facility (RTF) in upstate New York. During the trial period, youth residents newly admitted to the RTF participated in an [Initial Mindfulness Familiarity Assessment\ designed to assess a youth`s familiarity with the concept of mindfulness and to introduce youth to basic methods for practicing mindfulness.During their residency at the RTF, youth were given opportunities to participate in various [mindfulness practice sessions\ as well as general lessons on mindfulness during weekly scheduled therapeutic recreation programs.Observations and feedback gathered during the trial period as well as interviews of youth residents and staff at the RTF, demonstrated that youth in the RTF willingly and frequently participated in mindfulnessͲ based activities; did develop awareness and skills related to the concept and practice of mindfulness; independently incorporated principles of mindfulness practice into their daily lives; and did utilize mindfulness techniques to help them attain specific treatment plan goals and objectives. The resulting manual contains background information on Stillwater RTF as well as sections explaining the definition of mindfulness, the benefits associated with mindfulness practice and theory that supports the use of mindfulness in therapeutic recreation.Also, directions for facilitating a [mindfulness familiarity assessment\ and basic instructions for implementing [mindfulness practice sessions\ with youth during therapeutic recreation programming, in a residential treatment facility setting are included in the project manual.

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