JOB POSTING: Recreational Therapist, Mental Health Service Line at VA Puget Sound, American Lake Division

The Recreation Therapist is assigned to Community and Residential Care Services within the Mental Health Service Line at VA Puget Sound, American Lake Division. The Recreation Therapist provides and supervises treatment interventions incorporating the four-step process of assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation of patient treatment services.

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Examples of duties include the following:


  • Conduct, analyze, interpret, and report assessment data based upon functional domains (cognitive, sensory, social, affective, physical, and leisure).
  • Construct appropriate and evidence-based recreation therapy interventions for treating patients with complex medical or mental health issues such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Substance Use Disorder/Addictions; Chronic Pain Syndrome etc.
  • Provide direct patient care and receive guidance from higher-level or supervisory staff members for only the most complex patients and require only general supervision.
  • In collaboration with the larger clinical team, the therapist develops individualized treatment plans with measurable therapeutic goals and objectives including scope, duration and treatment.
  • Recommends adaptation, modification, and/or assistive technology to meet the assessed needs and preferences in recreation therapy.
  • Using activity/task analysis, behavioral interventions, and therapeutic procedures, they design individualized treatment interventions to reduce stress, anxiety and maladaptive behaviors, recover basic motor functioning, reasoning abilities, build confidence, and develop compensatory strategies to master critical life skills necessary to re-enter the community in a productive manner.
  • Use of sophisticated techniques/strategies to improve or support clinical outcomes, eg. develop positive patterns of behavior; relaxation and stress reduction; lifestyle alteration; social skills training; develop self-esteem; reinforce positive relationships; motor learning and training strategies; anger and pain management; identify risks; recovery support; lifestyle adjustment; conflict/problem resolution; adjustment to disability, including coping with grief and loss.
  • Plan and facilitate therapeutic recreational community integration outings with the Veterans.
  • Responsible for requesting of Government Provided Funds (GPF) associated with costs related to facilitation of Therapeutic Recreation programming. Responsible for completing required trainings, following established policies and procedures associated with use and management of government funds, completes purchase card orders in the identified computer system, ensuring accuracy of all charges and submitting audit information as requested.
  • As driving can be an important part of the job often transporting Veterans in the community, incumbent must satisfy all valid WA driver’s license and meets the minimum VA and VHA medical requirements for the operation of government vehicles.
  • Supervises interns, fieldwork students and patients in-work therapy assignments. Serves as preceptor for Therapeutic Recreation students during clinical internships. Provide ongoing orientation and in-service education program regarding benefits and outcomes of a therapeutic recreation program. Follows section and college procedures to ensure high quality training. Provide internship curriculum, learning objectives, supervision and grading.
  • Provides clinical oversight of Recreation Therapy Assistants assigned to the area.


  • The incumbent adheres to guidelines that include Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA), Veteran’s Integrated Service Network 20 (VISN 2), VA Puget Sound VAPSHCS and local departmental policies and procedures; The Joint Commission (JC) standards; Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) standards; as well as the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) Professional Standards of Practice, ATRA Scopes of Practice and ATRA Codes of Ethics. Through continuing education and by professional association, therapists maintain awareness of updates, changes, or temporary modifications to these guidelines and may suggest updates or changes to local guidelines in order to insure patient safety, improve clinical outcomes or enhance the quality of the local service and/or the facility’s environment.
  • Responsible for complying with and managing emergency response in the community setting when treating patients.
  • Maintains professional relationship with community organization, following all Voluntary Services policies and guidelines.
  • Follows all policies and procedures associated with use and management of government funds.


  • Maintains professional competence through participation in appropriate educational activities.
  • Assists in teaching and providing learning experiences for Recreation Therapy clinical interns as required.
  • Participates in staff orientation, successfully completes Medical Center assigned mandatory trainings, and in-service activities.
  • Deliver treatment in compliance with Veterans Health Administration (VHA) accrediting agencies and VHA directives.

The duties listed above are GS-11 Full Performance Level, GS-7 and GS-9 duties will differ in complexity and level of supervision.

Work Schedule: 9:30AM – 6PM, Sunday – Thursday

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