By Susan Morgan
In connection with the first week of spring, we have just celebrated Horticultural Therapy Week, an event supported through the American Horticultural Therapy Association, that serves to bring about increased awareness of the practice of horticultural therapy. Also in early 2017, the Horticultural Therapy Institute’s Rebecca L. Haller, HTM, and Christine L. Capra have recently released the second edition of their book, Horticultural Therapy Methods: Connecting People and Plants in Health Care, Human Services, and Therapeutic Programs, Second Edition, published by CRC Press. Edited and written by leading professionals in the practice of horticultural therapy (HT), this book serves as a resource for horticultural therapy practitioners, educators, leaders, facilitators, and volunteers of community, social, and therapeutic horticulture programs, and allied professionals in the fields of health care and human services who may apply therapeutic horticultural techniques and elements in their work with clients.
In a therapeutic horticultural program, the practitioner adapts a variety of horticultural activities, indoors and out, to work with clients toward their goals as part of their treatment or wellness program. Yet each site where these activities occur is faced with its own unique set of circumstances – clients’ functional levels and interests, program and institutional goals, site conditions, budgets, and much more agency specific items that must be taken into account for program planning, delivery, and assessment. In Horticultural Therapy Methods, the authors set the foundation for the use of horticulture as a therapeutic modality and offer the framework for developing and implementing a client centered HT program, with an emphasis on documenting treatment outcomes. This new edition has been expanded to include a new chapter on session planning, more extensive resources in the appendices, and photos that enhance key points and illustrate HT programs in action.
Of particular note, the second edition has expanded its resources in the appendices to include a useful assortment of forms used by practitioners in treatment planning and assessment, as well as techniques for facilitating horticultural activities to meet specific client goals and objectives for a variety of populations. The “Horticultural Therapy Treatment Strategies” appendix section offers 24 pages that are divided into four primary categories of mental health, physical health, vocational, and wellness and feature a breakdown of diagnoses (such as anxiety disorders, traumatic brain injury, and cerebral palsy, for example) or wellness dimensions (including occupational, physical, social, spiritual, intellectual, and emotional), treatment focus, and appropriate, corresponding examples of therapeutic horticultural activities. These examples help to illustrate the broad applications of horticultural activities to treat wide ranging conditions and client goals.
This second edition of Horticultural Therapy Methods is a refreshing update with a solid foundation of the practice of horticultural therapy and a practical guide with real-life examples that will be especially handy for new and current practitioners. This book reflects the nature of the field of horticultural therapy today and the various perspectives of practitioners serving clients with wide-ranging conditions and life experiences.
Note: The author of this post was compensated for the review of this book. All opinions are mine. -SM