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Writing and producing therapeutic recreation training scripts and health videos

Writing about therapeutic recreation? Get your start in non-fiction writing by researching and making therapeutic documentaries on the healing power of play. Your videos can improve the quality of life for others while helping you write non-fiction training scripts for reality video and various training and informational documentaries.

Writing and producing therapeutic recreation scripts and training videos: The Freelance Writer's E-Publishing Guidebook: 25+ E-Publishing Home-based Online Writing Businesses to Start for Freelancers.
Anne Hart, book.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to make a a video on the healing power of play (playology) linking research with dolphins and autistic children to show beneficial mutual effects? You might find resources helpful such as the site, "Therapeutic Recreation Resources for recreation therapy" and "American Therapeutic Recreation Association." Within the field of therapeutic recreation are terms such as playography and playology. Writing about a wide variety of therapeutic recreation and how it relates to holistic health can fit into many publishing markets as well as video production arenas.

Your videos help therapists take clients to the next level of recovery. Playology uses the power of play therapeutically. Playography is a broader sweep of how play is used around the world. The definitions are more like the difference between geology and geography. Also, in playography, you not only write about play as a science, art, and craft, but you actually write plays, skits, monologues, and make video podcasts (vodcasts) as well as work in audio format. A script is written.

In playology, you actually do play, from playing games to blowing bubbles to make people smile, and create situations for play and relaxation, such as building sand castles and video recording the process of creativity as a form of play within design.

The writer and producer as a video therapist technician

The video therapist technician assists a psychologist, interpreter for the deaf, psychiatrist, social worker, counselor, teacher, or psychotherapist by operating a video camera, editing the tape, and monitoring a television set to help children and adults with emotional or behavioral problems. In some videos people and animals interact to show the beneficial or healing results from play between the two.

Scriptwriting is another option. The best market today is producing and distributing exercise, fitness, or healing-through-play videos for target populations and special groups of clients or patients such as preschool, seniors, persons with certain illnesses or disabilities.

Video therapy is done also with schizophrenics to show them how to have emotion, and with the elderly for therapeutic communication. It is a new biofeedback technique that teaches speech volume and coping mechanisms. It condenses behavior into "well" role models on videotape and shows a person how others see him or her.

Video therapy teaches prosocial behavior in prisons, schools, geriatric homes, on-the-job, in psychologists' offices, and in numerous institutional settings. Experience is telescoped. The video therapist's duties are to film the counseling session and carefully to edit the tape to include only appropriate behavior. The patient then sees the edited tape and becomes his or her own teaching resource. It's also important to videotape interpreters for the deaf as they do their hand and finger signing in American Sign Language.

These interpreters need to be videotaped so that the speaker in the background of the tape can be hand signed for deaf video viewers. Or you can close-caption video tapes and put in written words on the tape.

Income potential

It's possible for a video therapist technician to earn $25,000 or more annually, if the emphasis is on work as a trained technician, technologist or therapist in related areas. Video therapy is a useful application for trained fitness and nutrition personnel or personal and corporate trainers in fitness, nutrition, or related therapies. Training videos and multimedia education or instruction for homebased students, including senior citizens are a potential market, too. Or create your own videos and sell each in the range of $20 to $40 to helping professionals, allied health workers, and the public.

Best locale to operate the creativity enhancing business

Institutional centers, childhood development centers, schools, geriatric centers, psychiatrist's offices, marketing and advertising research firms, cable television stations, exercise spas, and educational psychology research programs.

Exercise, accupressure, Yoga, and playology videos appeal to stressed-out salespersons, therapists, teachers, attorneys, public speakers, holistic health workers, nurses, physicians, and other allied health workers, sedentary people, and anyone interested in personal growth, fitness, or nutrition.

Operate your video business or distribute your tapes in areas where holistic health and alternative fitness instruction is popular--such as large cities, the whole state of California, the entire West coast, New York, large cities, ski resorts, health spas, vacation areas, Colorado, and especially, Arizona.

Training required

Video school courses in camera operation and videotape editing are helpful. By learning how to edit videotape, you can save yourself the cost of hiring a video editor.

Many video production supplies stores offer short courses in how to edit tape and in video production techniques. They can also refer you to low-cost adult education courses in the community.

Community college courses in recreational therapy assisting, gerontology, or nursery school teaching also are helpful

You can even earn a certificate as a "certified" recreational therapy aide or recreational therapist from a community or two-year college and produce videos on recreation for the institutionalized person or for senior centers and nursing homes. In addition, you can earn a certificate as a health and fitness trainer or health promoter from the extended studies division of many major universities. Extension courses (extended studies departments) are open to adults and usually have no-prerequisites.

General aptitude or experience

The ability to relate to all kinds of people under extremes of behavior is essential. An aptitude for editing video in an artistic way following specific directions is necessary.

Video equipment needed

Purchase a broadcast quality industrial-quality video camera or even an decade-old super 8 camcorder, video tape or DVDs and whatever technical comes along that's better on which to put your videos, editing machine, computer with a drive that plays videos, and equipment to produce titles on your videotape. This can be either software, old fashioned standalone title makers or the type of computer software that best produces titles on your neighborhood budget video and can be hooked up to your video camera and computer for editing. Call your local video supplies store to outfit you with camera, editing machines, title makers, and tape.

It's important that your video doesn't lose quality the more times it's played. Don't use an old fashioned 1980s-style VHS home camcorder because the tapes lose quality when reproduced and when played over and over. Use the latest software for editing on your computer. You'll be making many copies of your video recordings for distribution to a wide variety of helping professionals.

Operating your business as a scriptwriter, producer, and playographer

Contact psychotherapists, hypnotherapists, prison wardens, psychiatrists, hospitals, schools for special education, speech pathology centers, rehabilitiation centers, psychodramatists and schools teaching psychodrama, art therapy, or the expressive and recreational therapies, home healthcare nursing departments of hospitals and home care agencies, nursing homes, senior citizens centers, recreational facilities, hospices, fitness centers, weight loss centers, nutrition companies, holisitic health clinics, acupunture schools, allied health care schools, and crises centers to find a therapist you can apprentice to as a video therapy technician.

You can teach what your expertise is in. Or work with an expert with validated credentials in a therapeutic field such as Yoga exercises, accupressure, infant massage, exercises for pregnant women or senior citizens, holistic health, personal growth, preschooler's fitness training, alternative fitness techniques, or playology (the healing power of play) for beginners, seniors, the disabled, children, or any targeted audience. Put the Yoga or accupressure instruction or other mild, stretching exercises on tape for relaxation or rehabilitation, or for a new approach to eastern exercises. Many good Yoga or Tai Chi Chuan (Chinese slow exercises favored by seniors) are available on tape.

In the mid-eighties, Dr. Donna Eyde, video educational psychologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha reported to the media that there was a need for video therapist exercise technicians to work with the elderly in homes, spas, and gerontology centers.

A decade later, by the 1990s, we find highly-skilled fitness trainers, acupressure, playology, Yoga, Tai Chi Chuan (Chinese exercise), infant massage, preschool children's exercise, exercises for pregnant women, and slow Oriental exercises for senior citizens tapes popular and in demand by people seeking alternative ways to physical fitness, personal growth, holistic health resources, and training relaxation techniques. Some nurse practitioners and numerous fitness trainers and kinesiologists also make holistic health videos and write the scripts based on their expertise and long experience.

For example, infant massage tapes and exercise videos for pregnant women can be sold in maternity clothes stores. Alternative exercise tapes for senior citizens can be sold in stores and community centers older people frequent, and playology videos can be marketed at hospital workshops where patients learn stress release techniques or in classes, that nurses, psychologists, and social workers attend to fulfill continuing education licensing renewal requirements.

The power of play in holistic health writing and video production

Playology videos focus on discovering the healing power of laughter and play, especially for people suffering from the fear of play. You could make videos using scientific data validating the healing power of play, including problem solving by using the creative process.

Your videos could help viewers lighten up and learn to play more, laugh to promote health, and have fun wherever they happen to be at the moment in order to relieve stress. Ellie Katz, R.N., Ph.D., invented the word "playology."

Highly recommended is her wonderful 10-minute video, "Change Your Mind," on the healing power of laughter and play. Ellie Katz travels all over the world giving playology workshops and seminars on cruise ships.

Her $19.95, 10-minute video is on the subject of how to play in your office, home, with groups, and how to stay healthy, do what you are and get better. The video is available from Ellie Katz. Write to Ellie Katz, care of The Learning Annex, 344 Kalmia St., San Diego, CA 92101. The field of playology is waiting for more tapes on how to get over the fear of playing and how to use scientific data validating the healing power of play. In addition to play therapy, there is the healing power of oriental exercise on video.

If you don't know anything about Yoga or Tai Chi Chuan, then hire an instructor in any of these oriental exercise and relaxation stretching techniques and videotape the instructor giving beginning instructions on a 30 to 60 minute tape, or produce a series of tapes for beginners, intermediate, and advanced students.

Find out from the instructor, based on market surveys and the instructor's class numbers which tapes are most likely to sell--usually the beginner's tapes or intermediate. Variety for beginners is more important in the workouts than advanced studies that would appeal to fewer students.

Offer your services to work with the patients or clients in offering fitness or health-related videos for instructional or recreational purposes in the field of health and fitness, recreation, activities training, or creative and expressive arts.

When you find the centers you want to work for or the therapists you want to apprentice with, ask them what their specific needs are in video or videotaping to teach their clients pro-social behavior, such as self-esteem realities. Then produce the tapes to meet their exact requirements to help individual clients or patients. Video therapy is about transformation.

Target market: Looking up manusummarized pointurers?

Find experts and reviewers on uses and benefits of various types of exercise equipment and ask them to include your videos prepackaged with their equipment. You can work out a barter deal with them so you can include your advertising on the back of your video package along with their advertising copy. Also ask specialty shops such as maternity or children's stores for permission to put your video display rack in their window or at their checkout counter for impulse buys as people pay for their merchandise.

Healthy cooking videos frequently are sold along with new convection ovens. Exercise videos and booklets, or videos on accupressure, Tai Chi Chuan, infant massage, play, exercise for pregnant women or senior citizens, for example, would go well with prepackaged products of exercise or relaxation equipment, mind enhancing devices, exercise or relaxation furniture, sandals, clothing, appliances, and related types of furniture or musical instruments. Some producers put relaxing sounds and sights, like nature and clouds with music on videotape for stress reduction.

Approach or lecture to nurses in maternity hospitals, birthing centers, or nurseries. If your field is writing not healthcare, bring together a panel of speakers who are experts in various health fields. Make a video of the speakers' presentations or question and answer interviews.

Offer your video to new mothers leaving the hospital with their babies. Capture a niche market by focusing your tape on a subject like infant exercise and massage, exercises for postpartum women, accupressure, playology, tummy flattening tapes, or other health and fitness information on video appealing to a specifically targeted market interested in new possibilities for fitness.

Your videos can also come with booklets on the same subject or any type of exercise equipment, holistic health products, food supplements, etc. You could also do demonstrations at holistic health fairs and conventions or rent booths to other videocassette producers at theme conventions.

Therapists, hospitals, prisons, and fitness centers use therapeutic video or interactive video to observe people interacting and to record their behavior for study, research, and therapy. You want to reach all helping professionals, such as the following:

1. Interpreters for the deaf who want you to put their sign-language expert on videotape to explain their instructional tapes.

2. Prison psychologists, who may want you to make a videotape about pro-social behavior and self worth training for the prison population.

3. Speech pathologists who may want you to make videos to train stroke victims to look into mirrors to see their opposite hand and try to move it.

4. Acupuncturists, acupressurists, and holistic health practioners or alternative fitness experts who may ask you to make instructional videos for specific audiences.

5. Cruise ships, airlines, hospitals, and nursing homes--who may wish to show your uplifting videos on how to improve the quality of life.

You can specialize in creating videos for children. Target preschools, children's centers, hospitals, and schools of education where preschool teachers are trained. A hot specialty is creating exercise, fitness, and eating-the-right foods videos for preschoolers and children in daycare, nursery schools, after-school care, and at children's hospitals. Create a children's or preschooler's gym on video by targeting corporate daycare centers and gyms.

Related video opportunities for non-fiction scriptwriters and training film producers

Recreational video exercise therapist, instructional media technologist, cable television programmer, playologist, cruise seminar and event planner, and holistic health practitioner videographer.

Your exercises could focus on preschoolers or infants, appealing to parent gym classes where they take their infants for a family together workout. Provide video tapes so the whole family from babies to seniors can exercise together and get fit.

Additional Information

Organizations of interest include: American Kinesiotherapy Association (exercise therapists), and the American Association of Rehabilitation Therapists. Another resource is the American Association of Advertising Agencies: 4A's. You may also wish to check out or browse this author's book, The Freelance Writer's E-Publishing Guidebook: 25+ E-Publishing Home-based Online Writing Businesses to Start, by Anne Hart (Jun 24, 2001).