DSH - Atascadero: Internships - Recreational Therapy Internship Program

Rehabilitation Therapy Internship Programs

The Department of State Hospitals (DSH) - Atascadero offers clinical internships for students within the disciplines of Music Therapy and Recreation Therapy. These programs offer students opportunities to learn techniques and skills required of practicing therapists in the above disciplines in order to meet the professional standard of competency required by the respective professional organizations and universities. DSH - Atascadero is a nationally-approved internship site for both of these disciplines, preparing students for certification/registration in their respective national or state professional organizations. The internship is designed to support the overall development of students and addresses entry-level performance responsibilities outlined by each discipline.

Population Served

All patients are committed under the California Penal Code, which includes youth authority wards above the age of 18 years, patients who are mentally incompetent to stand trial, patients who have been found not guilty by reason of insanity, mentally ill inmates who are transferred from the Department of Corrections, Offenders with Mental Health Disorders who are serving some or all of their parole time for treatment, and a small number of mentally ill patients under conservatorship and other penal code categories.

For information, contact:

Sarah Goible, CTRS, RTC / Zechariah Freeman, CTRS
Recreational Therapy Internship Directors
Department of State Hospitals - Atascadero
P.O. Box 7001
Atascadero, CA 93423-7001

Phone: (805) 468-2740 / (805) 468-2500
Email:  ASHRecreationTherapyInternship@dsh.ca.gov 

Philosophy and Treatment Goals of the Recreational Therapy Program

Our Philosophy of Recreation Therapy is to utilize various recreational activities as interventions that promote change, wellness and independence in the areas of physical, emotional, cognitive and social impairments. Goal-directed interventions are taught to aid in overcoming barriers associated with mental illness, substance abuse, cognitive deficits and physical limitations; as well, goal-directed interventions teach, encourage and improve quality of life through positive leisure and recreation participation.  Involvement in a variety of therapeutic groups and supplemental activities is encouraged with the goal to teach transferable skills when integrating back into a community setting.

Recreational Therapy Treatment Goals:

The focus of treatment is addressed and implemented through a variety of therapeutic activities within structured groups. These areas include; Psychiatric, Social, Dangerousness, Substance Abuse, Legal, Health and Wellness, Leisure and Recreation, Education, Occupation and Community Integration. Some examples of treatment goals include:

  • Improve problem solving skills and frustration tolerance through a variety of recreation activities
  • Develop leisure skills through positive leisure education and experiences
  • Develop an awareness of physical fitness, health and wellness benefits
  • Improve social anxiety, cooperation, and sense of personal responsibility through involvement in organized group activities
  • Increase self-esteem through creative opportunities in the area of art and music
  • Develop coping strategies to better manage symptoms of mental illness
  • Reduce stress and anxiety through recreational pursuits

Minimum Qualifications and Expectations of Students Entering Program:

  • Working on completing a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited institution in the area of Recreation Therapy
  • Ability to compose clear, accurate and concise reports
  • Formulate realistic goals and objectives
  • Ability to plan and implement group sessions
  • Ability to lead large and small group activities in a variety of modalities
  • Ability to analyze situations accurately and take effective action; communicate effectively
  • Knowledge of the principles, procedures, techniques, trends, and literature of rehabilitation services, especially those relating to mental, physical, developmental, or geriatric disabilities

How to Apply:

Internship Details:

Facility Type: State forensic psychiatric hospital

Client Types:  Forensic mentally ill (male)

Client Ages:  Young adult, middle-aged adult, and older adult

Number of interns per period: One

Number of Supervisors: Two

Stipend:  Yes - Amount variable

Housing:  Available at fair market value

Meals:  Available after orientation period

Environment: See About the Area

Status:  Active