Horticultural Therapy Week

What is Horticultural Therapy?

Horticultural Therapy (HT) is a formal practice that uses plants, horticultural activities and the garden landscape to promote well-being for its participants. HT is goal orientated with defined outcomes and assessment procedures. HT sessions are administered by professionally trained horticultural therapists.

Therapeutic Horticulture (TH) is the purposeful use of plants and plant-related activities to promote health and wellness for an individual or group. Goals and defined outcomes for individual participants are not necessarily considered nor clinically documented.

Source: Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association (CHTA) 2023

Between March 19 to 25, 2023, my professional registering body, the CHTA, is celebrating Horticultural Therapy Week in Canada. In honour of the work I’m doing in the field of Horticultural Therapy at Homewood Ravensview, I would like to share with you an activity I’ve facilitated for clients. We call it Nature Bowl.

The significance of the Nature Bowl is that it is a collection of items inspired by nature, that a client can reach out, pick up, and hold in their hands during a moment of overwhelming emotion and/or dissociation. The items in the bowl help to ground the person in their body, and in the present moment through activation of their sense of touch. All of the items are locally “found”, and some come directly from the Ravensview property like the Douglas-fir bark of the tree that makes up the bowl, the conifer cones, the moss balls, and the dot-painted rocks. Clients collect the items, paint the rocks, form the moss balls, and assemble the bowls. Therapeutic outcomes include cognitive, physical, social, emotional, and creative/spirtual. Currently, we have a bowl placed in the centre of the table in each of our meeting rooms where clients engage in group therapy.

What’s your favourite strategy to connect with a plant(s) and/or nature for therapeutic benefits?

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