Katryna Koenig, Cognitive Instructor and Recreation Therapist

I have a passion for partnering with people to achieve wellness goals through meaningful activities and strengths-based action planning. After working for several years with the brain injury community in group programs and individual coaching, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to use research-based tools in neuroplasticity alongside therapeutic recreation practices to improve a person’s quality of living.

My interest in rehabilitation, wellness and therapeutic recreation started at the age of 16, when I received spinal fusion for Scoliosis. Recovery was slow, isolating and boring. As an athlete and student leader, I became detached from the activities and valued roles in my life at that time.  There was little support or guidance for my family as I transitioned home. My personal rehabilitation experience inspired me to find a way to support others on their journey through injuries, illnesses and barriers, with an appreciation for the intrinsically motivating and therapeutic value of leisure.

In 2011, I moved to Metro Vancouver to study at Douglas College, the only school in BC with a Bachelor of Therapeutic Recreation Program. During my four years of study I participated in a major research project that explored the experiences of community inclusion, health and well-being for people living with mental illness in Vancouver. In 2015, I presented our findings at the Canadian Public Health Conference and Washington State Therapeutic Recreation Conference. I have worked with multiple non-profits developing policies, protocols, assessment tools, outcome measures, program development and program designs. I have also guest lectured at UBC, and supervised student projects and practicums. I aim to complete the NCTRS exam in 2018, which internationally recognizes my specialty in Therapeutic Recreation.

A growing fascination with neuroplasticity through my studies led me to consider the gap between knowledge translation of scientific research and useful applications that can actually help people improve their quality of life after a brain injury. My argument was that Therapeutic Recreation could provide a bridge by applying research in meditation and exercise (to start) in individual coaching and group programs. Little did I know that I would eventually be part of a program helping fill that gap.

Today I find myself among a team of specialists determined to make a difference in our communities and to change the common discourse around brain injury recovery. I am thrilled to work with individuals motivated to see change in their lives, and work with them on their wellness goals inside and outside of the Watson Centre.

My overall mission with the Watson Centre is to support client goals through the four pillars, to assist with transition plans outside of the program, and to encourage investing in meaningful and productive initiatives.