TriStar Centennial Medical Center offers Recreation Therapy internships with the facility's inpatient psychiatric hospital, Parthenon Pavilion. Through this experience, students will work with Recreation Therapists on staff and gain experience planning and facilitating Recreation Therapy group sessions with the hospital's adult and geriatric populations. Students will work with individuals experiencing a wide range of mental health needs, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, substance abuse issues, thought disorders, Alzheimer's disease and other age-related dementias.

Please read the Recreation Therapy Internship Requirements fully to make sure you meet all criteria necessary for application.

Requirements for Internship

  • Potential applicants must have completed required therapeutic recreation and general recreation coursework by start of internship, unless prearranged by university supervisor and internship facility supervisor.
  • Potential applicants must submit a resume and provide letters of reference in addition to completing the application form (link to jotform). You should also provide a letter of verification from academic director to pursue internship, include practicum experience, transcripts and complete the following essay questions: Your philosophy on recreation therapy, your strengths as a recreation therapist and what you hope to gain from this internship.
  • Potential applicants must present in person for a half day interview where they will meet the supervising RT for the hospital's Recreation Therapy internship program as well as other staff members including Recreation Therapists, the Manager of the Therapeutic Interventions Department and the hospital's Assistant Administrator. During this time, potential applicants will observe Recreation Therapy group sessions with the hospital's varied patient populations.

Internships start in January, May or August and applications must be turned in 3 months priority to desired start date (6 months if no pre-existing affiliation agreement)

Internships will be a minimum of 14 weeks, minimum of 40 hours per week to complete the required NCTRC standard of 560-600 hours supervised by CTRS.

Questions? Contact Internship Facility Supervisor at:
Email Amanda Wright
(615) 342-4436

Recreation Therapy Internship Responsibilities and Expectations

During the course of a Recreation Therapy internship with Parthenon Pavilion, students will be exposed to opportunities to develop skills related to the therapeutic recreation process as defined by the current NCTRC National Job Analysis Task Areas. Students will observe and learn the points listed below and by the end of their internship experience will be expected to perform and demonstrate the same criteria:

Professional Roles and Responsibilities:

  • Establishing a therapeutic relationship
  • Maintaining a safe, therapeutic environment.
  • Adherence to a code of ethics and standards of practice.
  • Understanding the performance improvement process.
  • Enhancing professional development.
  • Understanding, communicating, and reinforcing active and expressive therapies as a treatment modality.
  • Providing treatment as part of a multidisciplinary team.

Adjunctive Therapies Assessment:

  • Understanding human development
  • Understanding diagnostic groups
  • Understanding the symptoms of mental illness and recovery
  • Obtaining and reviewing pertinent information
  • Selecting and developing assessment processes
  • Conducting assessment
  • Interpreting results
  • Integrating results into clinical decisions

Planning Intervention:

  • Development of individualized intervention
  • Development of methods and approaches to programming
  • Identifying activity modifications and mediums
  • Understanding best practices and evidence based treatment
  • Understanding treatment models
  • Understanding the relationship between assessment and intervention

Implementing Intervention:

  • Leadership and facilitation techniques
  • Facilitating creativity and self expression
  • Understanding group dynamics
  • Awareness of safety and risk
  • Use of supplies and equipment
  • Considerations for individual and group sessions
  • Clinical observations and response to intervention

Evaluating Outcomes of Intervention:

  • Determining the effectiveness of modalities
  • Determining changes in behavior and/or functional abilities
  • Revising individualized intervention


  • Data collection
  • Integrating active and expressive therapies into the individual treatment plan
  • Recording behavioral observations
  • Working knowledge of Meditech, the electronic medical records system

Additional competencies and other areas of interest may be added to the internship experience by consultation with the internship supervisor.