Physical rehabilitation

A therapeutic focus on rebuilding motor skills, self-esteem, spatial relationships, cognitive development, stamina, improved concentration, and use of adaptations is used in this setting. The suggestions found in shortterm and acute care could also be useful.


Study of the environment and group cooperation/education are often the focus in school programs. Activities can be selected that help to meet these goals, at the same time developing and improving social and coping skills. Horticultural therapy programs in high school settings often provide prevocational training for students with disabilities. In these programs, basic horticultural knowledge and work skills are emphasized.

A vocational approach to treatment for substance abuse may include greenhouse production and sales

Figure 3.7 A vocational approach to treatment for substance abuse may include greenhouse production and sales.


Programs in the field of corrections are typically vocationally based, teaching the job skills required for greenhouse, nursery, or landscape employment. Often large gardens are incorporated into the plan by providing opportunities to raise vegetables to be shared with people in need through food banks or homeless shelters.

Wellness or health promotion

In the wellness arena, a holistic approach is taken whereby horticultural- based activities focus on stress reduction, coping skills, regaining choice, and control. Reintegration with nature can result in a regeneration of energy and self-care.

Community gardens

Horticultural therapy can be incorporated into a community garden by using the garden as a site for any type of program. Many community gardens focus on community development and serve disenfranchised populations as well as people with a passion for gardening. Coordinators may develop specific measurable goals and objectives for participants and create a program based on those. Some areas of focus that would fit well into a community garden setting include

  • • Activities with an educational focus regarding proper nutrition
  • • A therapeutic role using metaphors in the garden for life-skill development
  • • A social/emotional role in adding garden-related recreational activities to the schedule
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