The engagement of a client in horticultural activities The focus is on the process itself as a therapeutic activity Activities are facilitated by a trained horticultural therapist Occurs within the context of an established treatment plan
The process of using plants, directed by a horticultural therapist for psychological, physical, and/or educational benefits and well being. Horticultural Therapy defines specific goals and objectives for the individual and/or group. It offers creative activities and projects that provide sensory stimulation, environmental enhancement, unique activities that involve mind and body, opportunities for improved concentration, motivation, work tolerance, and manual dexterity. By definition horticultural therapy (according to Dr. Paula Diane Relf, Professor and Emeritus at Virginia Tech.), must contain three elements: clients, goals, and treatment activities. It is the presence of all three elements that distinguishes a horticultural therapy from other types of garden interactions. A trained horticultural therapist is in most settings, part of a treatment team and is responsible for planning treatment, developing sessions, interacting with clients, and recording outcomes/results.
Plants are used in hospitals, senior centers, public and private schools, rehabilitation programs and correctional facilities. Plants have unique qualities as they respond to any caregiver – plants do not judge. Plants grow and change as well as help stimulate the senses, encourage participation, and offer opportunity to rediscover hope (a look into the future).