Horticultural therapy is a process through which plants, gardening activities and the innate closeness we all feel toward nature are used as vehicles in professionally conducted programs of therapy and rehabilitation. Steven Davis, Executive Director, American Horticultural Therapy Association, 1994
Horticultural therapy (HT) is a time-proven practice. In the 19th century, Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and recognized as the "Father of American Psychiatry," was first to document the positive effect working in the garden had on individuals with mental illness. No longer limited to treating mental illness, HT practice gained in credibility and was embraced for a much wider range of diagnoses and therapeutic options. Today HT is accepted as a beneficial and effective therapeutic modality. It is widely used within a broad range of rehabilitative, vocational, and community settings.
HT techniques are used to assist participants to learn new skills or regain those that are lost. HT helps improve memory, cognitive abilities, task initiation, language skills, and socialization. In vocational HT settings people learn to work independently, problem solve, and follow directions.
Prince William County, Virginia Community Services offers a Horticultural Therapy Program for adults under the umbrella of Vocational Rehabilitation. Community Services is a public agency providing mental health, intellectual disability, substance abuse, emergency services and early intervention programs for residents of Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park. For more information on the Horticultural Therapy Program pwcgov.org/government/dept/cs
A wonderful, inspiring 14-minute video on the HT Program is available on YouTube. Take the time to watch it and you’ll find out why FOHT is committed to doing the work it does to support this program.
What is horticultural therpy?
Where can I find a horticultural therapy program?