RT Alumni Feature: Meredith Labban

Name: Meredith Labban

Graduation year: 2013

How did you become interested in this field of work?
I’ve always been interested in health and wellness and knew going into college I wanted to do pursue a career in helping others become healthier. At ECU orientation I remember searching through the course catalogs looking at classes I thought I’d be interested in and they all led me to Recreational Therapy.

What were some of your favorite courses while studying here in HHP? 
I loved the Recreational Therapy Foundation course. It really helped me envision what my job and future could look like. I enjoyed the Disability Survey class too! I loved learning about all the specific ways Recreational Therapists serve a variety of people in need.

What aspects of recreational therapy do you enjoy the most?
I love the way recreational therapy meets people exactly where they are. Recreational Therapists’ ability to adapt interventions to enable and encourage others is unmatched. It’s fun being the fun therapist!

Tell us about your current role?
I’m currently working as interim Recreational Therapy supervisor at Walter B Jones Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center. I have been working as a Recreational Therapist at WBJ since I graduated college. At WBJ we have the opportunity to provide quality care for clients with substance use and mental health disorders.

What is a typical day like for you?
As interim RT supervisor I provide supervision to our team of recreation therapists and help plan for the integration of recreational therapy services. Every day looks different. Some days I spend time doing administrative work including auditing client charts, entering data, and/or developing and implementing training material for new staff. I continue to provide clinical coverage to the RT staff by facilitating assessments, therapeutic RT groups, and documentation of patients progress toward treatment objectives.

What has been your favorite experience working in recreational therapy so far? 
A couple years ago I was able to become certified to teach yoga. It was an amazing experience to continue learning and it brought me a lot of joy to bring a new modality to the clients I serve at WBJ.

Where do you see the field of recreational therapy heading? 
I think the benefits that RT can bring are endless. I genuinely believe that RT interventions and modalities can be used to benefit any organization serving people in communities.

What is the greatest challenge you face as a recreational therapist?
I think the greatest challenge in providing therapy in any sense is the potential for burn out. It’s so vital to practice what we preach and implement self-care so we can continue to help meet the needs of our clients and promote all the benefits of what we do as Recreational Therapists.

What advice would you give to students who wish to enter this field?
Don’t stop learning. If you discover a modality you love, learn everything about it and start offering it to people in your community. Find a mentor in the RT field you trust that will challenge you and encourage you to step outside your comfort zone.