Garden Therapy Notes

 A Collection of Gardening Information and Inspiration



October 10, 2012

What Is Horticultural Therapy?


Horticultural Therapy (HT) is a very rewarding career if you enjoy helping people connect with nature as a way for them to heal. We are all interconnected and the results of Horticultural Therapy affirm that people need a good relationship with nature to lead healthy lives. So why does HT work? It all has to do with "Biophilia", a term coined by naturalist Edward O. Wilson to describe our innate connection with nature. Think of a time when being in nature was able to change your perspective, calm your mind and create space around a challenge. This phenomenon you experienced was a biophilic response.

Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association (CHTA) defines Horticultural Therapy as:

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

A Basic Overview of Horticultural Therapy 

·        Horticultural therapy is provided by Registered Horticultural Therapists (HTR) and Horticultural Therapy Technicians (HTT).   

·        It is offered in hospitals, long term care facilities, community agencies and rehabilitation centres.   

·        It is the use of gardening as a therapeutic tool to promote physical, cognitive, emotional and spiritual well-being   

·        Horticultural activities aid in the healing process; to help recover from illness and injury and used in conjunction with physiotherapy, counselling and/or medication.   

·        The Horticultural Therapist creates goals using an assessment and provides interventions to help achieve these goals. Assessments include physical, cognitive, psychosocial abilities and medical history.   

·        Based on Client-Centred Therapy to help participants achieve personal growth and encourage people to help themselves. The Therapist facilitates HT sessions to help participants reach their goals. 


Who Can Benefit From Horticultural Therapy? People of all ages and abilities including families and caregivers.

Horticultural Therapy can help those who feel:

  • Depressed
  • Anxious
  • Socially isolated
  • Overwhelmed with life responsibilities
  • Unbalanced
  • Hopeless
  • Loss of power and control

HT can help those who live with:

  • Cognitive challenges
  • Physical disabilities
  • Sensory limitations
  • Emotional imbalances

HT can aid in the process of recovery from:

  • Addictions
  • Loss
  • Life Changes
  • Physical Injury
  • Abuse

Those who participate in HT feel:

  • Empowered
  • Inspired
  • Competent
  • Grounded
  • Full and balanced
  • Reconnected
  • A sense of belonging
  • A sense of accomplishment
  • Self-confident


Written By: Trina Alix and Lea Tran



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