A 16-week internship in the Psychosocial Rehab (PSR) unit at Simpson Landing in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 


I completed a 16-week internship in the Psychosocial Rehab (PSR) unit at Simpson Landing in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The PSR unit is an in-patient unit that supports individuals with mental illness (including schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and bipolar disorder), to work on their recovery, and develop the skills to reintegrate into the community. Along with the multidisciplinary team, the client identifies goals in multiple areas of living including, housing, vocation, education, leisure/social, treatment, and self-care.

I have had the pleasure of learning from and working alongside my supervisor, a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Throughout my internship I have been exposed to and given an opportunity to work in all the NCTRC skill domains. I meet with clients 1:1 to determine their goals, then I work closely alongside the multidisciplinary team, to help clients achieve them. The process includes my creating and developing treatment plans, planning and implementing educational and leisure-based programs, and conducting assessments.

Special Service Project

As part of my internship, I needed to complete a special service project. This required that I identify a need in the unit, and then work towards meeting that need. I identified an opportunity to help clients work on their social skills. I developed a 7-week social skills program, that allowed clients to first learn about different essential social skills, (including by not limited to, conversational skills, conflict management skills, friendship, and dating skills) and gave them the opportunity to practice these skills, and over the program to develop these skills further.

This program was developed with the assistance of the psychology student on the PSR unit, allowing for the program to have a multidisciplinary approach. I developed this program using peer-reviewed sources including textbooks, books, and articles. The efficacy was measured with pre and post-program surveys, as well as evolving updates throughout the implementation of the sessions.   

Click here to view to each specific program plan (SPP) for the social skills program: SPP Session #1, SPP Session #2, SPP Session #3, SPP Session #4, SPP Session #5,  SPP Session #6, and SPP Session #7.


Program Development and implementation

In my role as the Recreation Therapy Intern, I was able to observe programs and groups run by the Recreation Therapist, as well as the interdisciplinary team, including the occupational therapy and social work teams. I was also given the opportunity to develop and run programs.

I developed a coffee group program that I ran twice a week, which allowed clients to discuss current events, develop their social skills, and learn how to share their different opinions without arguing. I also developed and ran a life skills group that discussed decision-making skills.

I was able to facilitate and co-facilitate many groups throughout my placement. This includes:  gym group, walks on and off the hospital grounds, community outings, art groups, relationship groups, and more.

Client assessments and care plans

Throughout my internship, I was able to carry out Recreation Therapy Intake Screens, leisure interest surveys, and discharge plans. With each assessment, I was able to use the goals and interests discussed to develop and carry out a client treatment plan. I would continue to follow up with clients throughout my internship to discuss their progress towards their goals and determine how I can best support them.