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Therapeutic Recreation - Essay Example

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Summary
O’Keefe (2008) begins with a semantic attempt to pin down the meaning of the word “suffering” in a general sort of usage, particularly within its modern context. Suffering, it seems, can be applied to a vast number of situations, many of which have to do with healthiness and unhealthiness…
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Download file to see previous pages Suffering, it is thought, is reducible through objective solutions to health problems. The author believed naively that one day, every known problem to medicine would be addressed by an objective fix—which is a belief now breaking up in all areas of medical treatment. Unfortunately, the commitment to an objective, universal set of fixes is a false medical model for how things work in reality. Instead, the author believes human consciousness to be a tool of vast complexity to remember, contemplate, process, and think, which precludes a simplistic model of medicine. In contrast to the idea of suffering as an objective phenomenon with objective causes, the author points to extreme cases of hypochondriasis, in which a person’s suffering is entirely self-caused, and those who live with extreme levels of suffering, but overcome it to live joyfully. Given this wide range of how people deal with suffering, the author concludes that suffering transcends traditional medicine. Accordingly, “suffering is a spiritual experience, intensely personal, and full of paradox and mystery” (O’Keefe, 2008). At the other end of this spectrum is the idea of leisure, which is taken to be the opposite of suffering. In leisure, one finds joy with one’s activities, which is also a deeply personal and subjective issue. For both leisure and suffering, the author believes that “therapeutic recreation has a wonderful gift” appealing both to the suffering and the joyful in the whole human being. It is objectionable, according to the author, that therapeutic recreation is treated by some as a distraction from the apparent seriousness of a patient’s situation. A patient’s experience in a medical ward is full of objective news—good and bad—that ignores the suffering and leisure of the individual patient. An apparent implication of therapeutic recreation’s “diversion” from objectivity is the thought that therapeutic recreation does not know or care about the seriousness of a patient’s situation. This, in turn, leads to an attempt by some in the field to bring therapeutic recreation on par in objectivity to the medical field that specializes in problem-solving diagnoses. At this point, one can see the author take issue with the language being used in therapeutic recreation—language that is depersonalizing people and making it more difficult to understand suffering (and joy) at a humanistic level. The author predicts that patients will demand that the language being used is more accessible and humanistic: an idea that supports the theory saying therapeutic recreation should carve out a place for itself as a humanistic practice that acknowledges the spiritualistic aspects of human life. Suffering, after all, represents a very spiritual experience, given that it is represented as such in so many world religions as redemptive and necessary for meaning. Suffering, whether it is embodied in homelessness, oppression, poverty, starvation, or violence, affords an opportunity for experiencing emptiness (O’Keefe, 2008). From redemption and emptiness, human beings have the chance to experience the highest form of joy, which comes from giving oneself to a saving power (which, the author notes, is not necessarily religious “but certainly spiritual”). In addition, this suffering can be communal. Following the September 11th terrorist attacks, entire groups of people felt shared emotions. Some of these shared emotions were put at ease through ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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