RT Alumni Feature: Lindsey Barber

Name: Lindsey Barber

Degree and graduation year: B.S. Recreational Therapy, class of 2009.

How did you become interested in this field of work?
I became interested in Recreational Therapy after working with an RT at A Small Miracle and volunteering with Rocking Horse Ranch. I’ve always had a desire to help others and assist people with the challenges of daily living. I wanted a career that allowed me to feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment. After being introduced to Recreational Therapy, I knew it would be a rewarding career but didn’t know how impactful it would be in my own life. While I recognize that I will not always have a solution for every problem, Recreational Therapy enables me to give support and engagement that positively impacts the lives of my patients.

What were some of your favorite courses while studying here in HHP?
My favorite courses were the Programming and Interventions classes. I enjoyed being able to research interventions, create protocols, and interact with my peers. The information I learned within these courses were beneficial in implementing effective therapy sessions during my internship, as well as in my career.

What aspects of recreational therapy do you enjoy the most?
I love how Recreational Therapy allows me to truly connect with my patients. I’m able to use different modalities that helps them regain feelings of hope, confidence, and purpose in their life. The most rewarding part of my job is being one of the first people to witness that first smile or glimpse of hope that was once taken from my patients. “You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome”. –Patch Adams

Tell us more about your current career role?
I have been working at Vidant Medical Center on the Behavioral Health Unit for 12 years. I facilitate daily groups and individual sessions. My focus is to educate others on various positive coping skills that can help them live a fulfilled life. I truly love my job. It’s not only fun, but also rewarding.

What is a typical day look like for you?
During a typical day, I complete assessments, facilitate daily group/individual sessions, complete progress notes, attend patient care conferences, and document progress towards treatment goals. I lead interventions such as, anger management, relaxation therapy, self-esteem building, effective communication skills, stress management, and many others. My daily schedule is different and unique, which I enjoy! Every day I get to leave my job feeling as though I made a difference in someone’s life but most of all, feeling the impact that my patients made in my life.

What has been your favorite experience working in Recreational Therapy?
My favorite experience is being able to see my patients improve from symptoms of depression. I find great pleasure in hearing a patient verbalize that they are feeling hopeful again and seeing that their mood has improved. It’s a very heartwarming experience seeing a person smile, that hasn’t smiled in a long time.

Where do you see the field of Recreational Therapy heading?
I hope the field of RT has a bright future as we continue to demonstrate how valuable our services truly are. We must continue to advocate for our profession and show how we stand apart from other therapies.

What is the greatest challenge you face as a Recreational Therapist?
One of the greatest challenges I face as an RT is lack of advocacy. Unfortunately, we are still undervalued in some areas and there are many people that do not know about RT or our services. Therefore, we must continue to show our value through the work we do every day.

What advice would you give to students who wish to enter this field?
I would encourage students to get as much hands-on experience as they can. Volunteer, shadow, explore! Hands-on experience is one of the best ways to learn about different skills and topics in order to find your true passion. Our profession is so diverse and there is so much information to acquire.