I watched a video with Dan Rather and Richard Edelmen this week (well, I watched a little bit, but mostly was listening to it like a podcast – it’s a bit lengthy).
Jeremy Skule hosted the two for a discussion on the current trustworthiness of media. Basically, it is at an all time low. There was talk about what’s being challenged, what journalism/media could do to start building that trust back up, how to escape the echo-chamber that’s shrunk to fit only one person in the past year, and questions from the audience.
And what, exactly, does this have to do with recreation therapy? I can kind of relate to feeling like you have to prove your worth. Thankfully, there isn’t a mass distrust of RT, but my experience is that I regularly have to prove my expertise and value of contribution around mostly anyone who isn’t an RT (or who already works closely with one). Another difference is that I’ve never been accused of deceiving; I’ve seen opinions of RTs dismissed, but not attacked as wrong. So, in my eyes, journalism appears to be a harsh (and certainly more visible) place to be right now.
At the very end, Dan Rather gives this advice on what the media might need to do in order to change:
There has to be a re-dedication to the idea of service for others. You know, I come out of television. But there has to be… this re-dedication to the sense of “I want to contribute to something, other than just myself. I want to belong to something that’s worthwhile, that’s bigger than myself.” This sense of “listen, I want to do the right thing.”
And then Edelmen follows with this:
Instead of believing that you can do things for the people, you have to do things with people. You have to tell them why, and how and when and where. They don’t believe you anymore unless you tell them specifically, and let them participate.
Hopefully this is starting to sound more applicable.
Based on the above, I want to lay out my intentions for this little project. Why am I doing this? Is there something I’m hoping to accomplish or am I wandering aimlessly? How do you know if I’m a credible source if I’m trying to accomplish something? Is what I write going to be biased or skewed a certain way? (yes, it’s unavoidable)
1. Why am I doing this?
Basically, I want this to be a contribution to bettering the profession through more meaningful online discussion. Any knowledge and connections gained through this should also improve my practice as a therapist. Ideally, other RT voices will feel compelled to participate, share, and learn.
I think I’m a decently credible source – I have my CTRS credentials, have volunteered/worked with as many different populations as possible over the past 4-5 years (though I recognize just as many that I couldn’t feign expertise in), and know how to be seek out, interpret, and apply credible scientific research (and what to do if I can’t access that *one* article). This is not supposed to be my resume however, so moving along.
First, by sharing a well-thought-out and intentional piece of writing on a regular basis. Accomplishing this may prove challenging, as I am an excellent second-guesser of both finished work and not-yet-started ideas.
In addition, I hope these writings become provoking enough to warrant some comment discussion. I don’t expect that at first. After some practice though, perhaps you think of something else that could be useful to add, challenges a point I made, or elicits a question – that others can benefit from (or think of something else because of your contribution). Those kinds of thoughts and points could lead to guest posts to offer more points of view, and eventually, a podcast interview/discussion piece.
Said piece of writing will be a weekly occurrence. As mentioned, this will likely prove challenging, but I’m doing this crazy thing called planning and by stating this multiple times, I am that much more accountable (win-win).
Well here of course! That’s not all though – I’m also a contributor over at The Mighty, which is a useful site for just about any RT, and I’m learning from a variety of perspectives over at Medium (if you click, you can see articles from other people that I recommend). I want to write something for each of these places once a month so I can connect to people outside of rec therapy. More ambition, but totally doable if I actually use my fancy planner.
I’m also going to schedule the time to visit all the places I have listed on the new RT Blogs & Resources page. If I’m not supporting others, but am expecting them to come to me, that isn’t accomplishing anything. I may not read every single post (some of you post a lot!), but I will make the time to regularly drop in.
5. So what?
Someone commented on my first post that they were going to start their own RT blog. Maybe my post helped, but it’s an individual choice. And staying committed is no small feat, but I will encourage anyone who wants to try something. That’s why doing these things with others, and not just for them, makes such a difference. It’s why in practice we aim to assist as needed, but not take our client’s place of choice and autonomy. Do it with them, until they can do it on their own (to whatever degree is appropriate). I recognize that I’m the only one benefiting from this blog, unless there are readers; that’s simple. Communicating in a way that provokes a reader to write something in return, that benefits both (and others), will be the challenge.