'Horticultural Therapy is the use of plants by a trained professional as a medium through which certain clinically defined goals may be met.'
A love of nature and living things is part of a human’s DNA. Working with plants helps people become more aware of the natural environment, as well as providing a source of relaxation and senses of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Horticultural therapy aims to improve physical and mental health and wellbeing using plants and plant-related activities as therapeutic tools. Horticultural therapy can be used in a preventive manner as well as in the form of treatment and rehabilitation. It has been established as a form of therapy since the 1950s and is part of a wider development of Nature Based Therapy.
Reported benefits of horticultural therapy include:
In 2014 Horticultural Therapy was introduced at Headley Court as an intervention for injured serving personnel and has now become a standard part of their rehabilitation programme.
Ashes to Gold Health & Wellbeing Centre hosts a 10-week horticultural therapy programme under the Defence Gardens’ Scheme. The course is run by a Psychotherapist and Horticultural Therapist, and up to 10 clients, who are all ex-service personnel, can attend each closed course.
Group check in
Practical activity: Preparation of beds – working with the earth in an environmentally friendly way by sowing green manures. Aim: Each participant will be given an opportunity to work with the soil for planting. Objectives: Importance of strong foundation, self-care, building resilience and social engagement.
Practical activity: Storing vegetables. Aim: The participants will learn the different methods of storing produce. Objectives: Develop new skills, self-care and building resilience.
Journal Reflection and Grounding exercise
Debrief and group closure
The clients attending the course may present with a variety of physical and mental health challenges. During some sessions individual clients may share some of their experience and struggles within the safe and professionally contained space of the closed group. Given the therapeutic nature of the group, respect for confidentiality is important to safeguard the well-being of clients and ensure the confidence of clients in the therapist-client relationship.
For information and contact details on DGS sessions starting 16th March 2021 click on the button below
North (Coleraine Area)
South (Portadown Area)
East (Holywood Area)
West (Enniskillen Area)