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Phoenix VA Health Care System

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Recreation Therapy


Recreation Therapy is a professional service which uses a wide range of recreation modalities and interventions  as treatment  and education to assist Veterans with disabilities and other limitations to exercise their right to a lifestyle that focuses on functional independence, health and well -being. Outpatient Recreation Therapy offers various treatment programs in the Topaz Clinic located in the basement of the Ambulatory Care Clinic and at all the CBOCs.  Veteran’s interested in participating in any outpatient Recreation Therapy treatment program, must first request a consultation from their provider.  Once this consultation is received, the Veteran will be contacted and scheduled for an initial intake appointment where a therapist will complete a comprehensive assessment and establish a treatment plan with the Veteran to meet identified individual needs. Programs offered by Outpatient Recreation Therapy include:

Physical Programs:

  1. Fitness:  Structured fitness programs are developed based on individual needs. Programs include: strength training, core and balance training, flexibility, and cardio-respiratory training.  Please note: participants require a medical release from their primary care provider to participate.
  2. Group Exercise:  Specialized exercise programs that have been developed for everyone, from the physically active to those with a sedentary lifestyle.  This program utilizes resistance bands to safely improve muscular strength, endurance, and flexibility.
  3. Adaptive Yoga:  Yoga class that has been modified to accommodate both seated and/or mat yoga practice to promote relaxation, increase flexibility, improve physical strength, enhance focus, and assist with pain management.
  4. Tai Chi:  A specialized exercise program designed to energize the mind and body through a series of graceful, slow movements.  Often described as “meditation in motion” regular practice promotes deep breathing and mental focus which reduces stress, strengthens the immune system, improves balance/coordination and relief from pain.

Art Programs:

  1. Creative Arts: Various forms of art such as painting, drawing, crafts, etc. are used as specific interventions within a group atmosphere.
  2. Leather Craft:  Basic leather craft skills such as stamping and carving are taught with individualized instruction through a uniform skill progression format.
  3. Soft Leather Design: Basic skills in design and project development using deer and elk skin are taught through a uniform skill progression format.
  4. Pottery/Ceramics:   The basics in ceramics, hand building, sculpture, and throwing clay on the potter’s wheel are skills taught in a therapeutic group environment.

Specialty Programs:

  1. Computer Program:  Small group instruction through a skill progression system used to teach basis computer skills.
  2. Small Group:  A time sensitive small group designed to help individuals increase comfort in group settings in order to transition into larger group programs.
  3. Relaxation:  Various relaxation techniques are taught and practiced to help reduce the physical and cognitive symptoms associated with stress and anxiety.
  4. Biofeedback:  An individualized treatment technique in which people are trained to use signals from their own bodies to help control anxiety caused by external stimuli.
  5. Adaptive Sports: Specialized program designed for disabled athletes.  A specific consult for adaptive sports is required by a primary care provider.

Contact Info


  • Physical Medicine and Rehab Building

Contact Number(s)

  • 602-277-5551 Ext. 7250

Hours of Operation

  • 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.