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Recreational Therapy

The Recreation Therapy Department here at NVMHI is made up of Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS), who are devoted to providing recovery centered treatment and recreation programming to the individuals served. The primary purpose of Recreation Therapy as a treatment is to restore, remediate, or rehabilitate in order to improve functioning and independence as well as reduces or eliminate the effects of illness or disability. In addition, our therapeutic recreation programs provide recreation resources and opportunities in order to improve health and well-being.

The benefits of Recreation Therapy of are endless!! Some of the benefits include but are not limited to stress reduction, increased socialization, coping mechanisms, improved physical and mental health, preparation for community reintegration, improved decision making skills, increased energy level, and overall leisure awareness.

A few of Recreation Therapy groups offered here at NVMHI include Coping Skills, Leisure Education, Community Reintegration Outings, Volleyball, Basketball, Social Skills, and We also have a Gym and Recreation Room where a variety of different programs are held like cooperative sports and exercise/fitness. For more information please visit and


To support the recovery of individuals at Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute by assisting them to develop and maintain healthy leisure lifestyles that will improve their quality of life.

Goals of Recreation Therapy Programming

What is Recreation Therapy here at NVMHI?

We provide a variety of interventions through Recreation Therapy that support both past and present leisure interests and abilities of the individuals we serve. We reinforce the importance of having a healthy independent leisure lifestyle. A lack of a healthy leisure lifestyle is one of the leading causes of recidivism.

Recreation, fitness, and healthy living are essential to everyday life. While the benefits of leisure and regular physical activity are endless to almost any population, a quality exercise program is particularly valuable in a mental health setting. It is common knowledge that regular exercise is a key factor in maintaining physical health, but exercise has also been proven to reduce feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety while improving confidence, self-esteem, and even quality of sleep.

Recreation Therapy Internship

Internship opportunities are available. The Recreation Therapy Department accepts interns from accredited Recreational Therapy programs on a first come, first serve basis.
If interested or if you would like more information please contact:
LaVonda Ellison, MEd, LRT/CTRS

Contact Information

Recreation Therapy Supervisor
LaVonda Ellison, MEd, LRT/CTRS

Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute