#OTalk 16th October 2018 – Social and Therapeutic Horticulture

This weeks #OTalk is on the topic of “Social and Therapeutic Horticulture” and will be hosted by Esme Wood and Mike Morgan of Coventry University (@Esmewood1 and @CU_STH).

Here is what they had to say…

Social & therapeutic horticulture (STH) is an emerging area of practice, particularly within the UK. For the purposes of this blog, we define STH as, “a systematic, holistic and transdisciplinary approach to the use of gardens and gardening to optimise individual and community health, wellbeing, development and quality of life”. Therefore, it can include, but is not limited to, practice areas such as horticultural therapy, therapeutic landscape design, stabilisation agriculture and community gardening.

The therapeutic use of horticultural activities has a long history within Occupational Therapy clinical practice and beyond. Within the United States and as a growing phenomenon in the UK we have also seen the rise of the Horticultural Therapist practitioner. In the UK today the use of social and therapeutic horticultural activities has never been more popular and with the current and growing ‘social prescribing’ agenda, the opportunities for practitioners to engage in activities are ever expanding.

It is at this time that we seek to define and understand the evolution of social and therapeutic horticulture practice, starting by exploring the principles and rationale for its use.  From a preliminary scoping review, we believe that current key principles of social and therapeutic horticulture practice include

  1. Valuing nature
  2. Connectedness as a core concern
  3. Evidence based design
  4. Sustainable development
  5. Transdisciplinary and partnership working

This #OTalk focusses on understanding the realities of Social and Therapeutic Horticulture practice in the UK today and how these guiding principles influence practice, whilst also exploring the potential for transdisciplinary working across health and social care sectors and professions. 

Questions:

  1. As practitioners who have experience of using social and therapeutic horticulture in either past or current practice, what do you feel was or is the key rationale for your use of these activities?
  1. How do you feel the core principles of social and therapeutic horticulture practice, (as defined within the blog) influence your work? 
  1. What examples of transdisciplinary working in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture have you encountered and how successful were these?
  1. Given the unique and individualistic nature of people-plant interactions and the movement towards greener living and care, how do you see the future of social and therapeutic horticulture practice?

Esme Wood and Mike Morgan, Coventry University. Occupational Therapists and Lecturer’s on the Social and Therapeutic Horticulture courses at both Professional Development Diploma and MSc level. Contact details: Esme.wood@coventry.ac.uk

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