Recreation therapy internship at the Behavioral Health Center

Thank you for your interest in completing your internship at the Behavioral Health Center (BHC). This is a great opportunity for a student interested in the application of recreation therapy in a mental health setting.

Internship purpose

  • To provide training and experience in the recreation therapy process for students preparing for national certification.
  • To help students acquire the knowledge, skills and confidence needed to deliver comprehensive recreation therapy services with a diverse patient population.

Internship description

The Recreation Therapy internship at the BHC is a 14-week, full-time program that meets the requirements outlined by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC). Students will apply skills learned in their university coursework, gain exposure to and demonstrate competence in all of the job tasks of a recreation therapist as outlined in the NCTRC Job Analysis. Under the supervision of our CTRSs, students will become a practicing member of our interdisciplinary treatment team.

Training site

Your internship will be completed at the Behavioral Health Center (BHC), a 74-bed free-standing psychiatric hospital housing four patient units. The BHC is part of Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center (EIRMC). We provide care for those in mental health crisis in Idaho, southern Montana and Western Wyoming. The BHC mission is to "Provide leadership and effectively partner with those we serve through an integrated team approach to evidence-based behavioral healthcare." Our patient-care services are based on the following values: Compassion, Safety and Excellence.

The Recreation Therapy Department of the BHC is made up of a team of full- and part-time recreation therapists. We provide recreation therapy interventions six days a week. Most groups take place on the patient units or off-unit in the Recreation Therapy group rooms. Our residential patients participate in outdoor groups and weekly off-campus outings.

Client population

Students completing an internship at the BHC will gain experience providing Recreation Therapy services with the following populations:

  • Acute psychiatric adult
  • Acute psychiatric adolescent
  • Residential female adolescent
  • Community groups on the BHC ropes course (seasonal)

Required learning experiences

  • Minimum 560 hour internship scheduled over 14 weeks
  • First few weeks orienting and shadowing
  • Next few weeks co-planning and co-facilitating patient interventions
  • Remainder of internship planning and leading interventions with support and supervision from the Recreation Therapy team
  • Weekly rotations to provide experience with all patient units and mentoring from all recreation therapists
  • Professional/capstone project as outlined by your university

General program information

  • Positions available: one student each semester
  • Starting date: flexible. Generally the start date is the first Monday of each semester (typically January, May, September start dates).
  • Applications are reviewed as they are received and are accepted throughout the year.
  • We recommend applying six months prior to your desired internship start date.
  • The student clearance process, once accepted, is extensive and may take several weeks, so you are encouraged to start early.
  • If selected to complete your internship at the BHC, an Affiliation Agreement between your university and our facility must be in place before the internship begins. If you’re unsure if there is such an agreement in place, first contact your university internship supervisor.

Eligibility and application

Contact the internship site supervisor to request an application. Application will include:

  • Detailed letter of intent
  • Current resume
  • Completion of all coursework from an accredited university in a Recreation Therapy (Therapeutic Recreation) program
  • Two professional letters of reference (sent directly to the internship site supervisor)
  • Essay questions (sent upon request for application)

Once all materials are received and reviewed, applicants selected for an interview will be notified. Onsite and virtual interview options available.

Schedule and working conditions

  • Students are scheduled full-time hours with rotating weekends.
  • Each week averages 40 hours for a total of 560 hours in 14 weeks.
  • Time off can be arranged and will be made up by extending the internship in order to reach the required hours determined by NCTRC.
  • Students will have a workspace and access to a computer.
  • Students will have access to all patient care resources available to the recreation therapy department. Additional materials to support the professional project can be coordinated with the site supervisor.

Internship contact information

Kristen Sargis, MS, CTRS
Recreation Therapy Supervisor
Behavioral Health Center
2280 E 25th St, Idaho Falls, ID  83404
P (208) 227-2300  |  F 208.227.2362