What is a Horticultural Therapist?
Horticultural Therapists enhance their patient’s health and happiness via the therapeutic benefits of gardening.
Horticultural Therapists have a solid basis in plant science, human science, and Horticultural Therapy concepts, as well as hands-on experience with horticultural therapy activities. Horticultural therapy approaches are used to help individuals develop new skills or restore lost ones.
Horticultural treatment aids in developing memory, cognitive abilities, task initiation, linguistic skills, and socialising. It can assist in strengthening muscles and enhance coordination, balance, and endurance in physical rehabilitation. Through this type of therapy, people learn to work independently, solve problems, and follow orders in vocational horticultural treatment settings. Horticultural Therapists are individuals who have received specialised education, training, and certification in the use of horticulture for therapy and rehabilitation.
Horticultural Therapists are in charge of a wide range of responsibilities, the most common ones include:
- Developing clients’ practical or social skills, confidence, or self-esteem
- Assisting clients to learn or re-learn basic skills, including numeracy and literacy
- Providing outdoor activity and exercise to restore strength and mobility after injury or illness
- Supporting clients to pursue horticultural qualifications or move into employment
- Collaborating closely with other professionals, such as psychologists and social workers
- Managing staff and volunteers
Salaries for Horticultural Therapists vary depending on their degree of education, years of experience, and the size of the organisation that employs them.
The UK national salaries for an Horticultural Therapist range from £17,000 to £30,000. The average salary for a London-based Horticultural Therapist is £25,152, while the UK average salary amounts to £22,732.
Working hours and work location
Working hours for Horticultural Therapists may entail regular overtime on occasion. Some weekend or nighttime work is possible. It is feasible to work part-time or take a professional hiatus. As a Horticultural Therapist, you could work in a garden, on a country estate or in a therapy clinic. Your working environment may be outdoors in all weathers and physically demanding. A Horticultural Therapist may work with individuals in almost any sort of healthcare or social service context, such as physical rehabilitation, mental health, vocational services, long-term care, hospice, prisons, special education, wellness and health support, foster care, or juvenile services.
What to expect
Two practice definitions directly support the function of a Horticultural Therapist, these are:
Horticultural Therapy entails participating in horticultural activities supported by a certified therapist to achieve specified goals within an established treatment, rehabilitation, or vocational plan. Horticultural Therapy is an active process that takes place within the framework of a specified treatment plan, with the process itself being regarded as the therapeutic activity rather than the end product. Horticultural Therapy programmes can be found in a number of hospitals, rehab, and residential settings. Individual or group outcomes for participants in Horticultural Therapy programmes are documented. A horticultural treatment programme includes the following components:
- The participation of a person in horticultural activities.
- The participant has a known impairment, sickness, or life condition that necessitates services.
- A trained Horticultural Therapist leads the exercise.
- Participation takes place within the framework of a defined treatment, rehabilitation, or vocational plan.
- Therapeutic Horticulture
Participation in horticultural activities facilitated by a certified Horticultural Therapist or other professionals trained in the use of horticulture as a therapeutic modality to achieve programme goals is referred to as therapeutic horticulture. Therapeutic horticulture is the process through which people improve their well-being by actively or passively participating in plant and plant-related activities. Therapeutic horticulture programmes can be found in various hospital, rehab, and residential settings. The following are the components of the therapeutic horticulture programme:
- The participation of a person in active or passive horticultural activities.
- The participant has a known impairment, sickness, or life condition that necessitates services.
- A registered Horticultural Therapist or other expert with horticultural training leads the activity.
- Participation is within the framework of the organisation’s aims and mission.
In order to grasp the importance of Horticultural Therapy as well as your goals you should keep in mind the benefits that can be achieved through this type of therapy.
In order to grasp the importance of Horticultural Therapy as well as your goals you should keep in mind the benefits that can be achieved through this type of therapy. The benefits of horticultural Therapy include:
Horticultural treatment clients obtain new abilities as they master gardening techniques and flower-arranging procedures. Clients may also feel a surge of curiosity as they learn more about plants and their growth. As they watch interactions, they have a better knowledge of the link between themselves and nature. Gardening, in turn, increases decision-making skills.
Finally, horticulture treatment engages the senses and promotes sensory detail awareness, boosting appreciation for one’s environment and eliciting pleasant sentiments of togetherness.
Clients can select horticultural activities that will allow them to enjoy the fruits of their labour. For example, a client can plant easy-to-grow veggies and then enjoy eating and sharing their harvest. It contributes to a sense of success and responsibility and, eventually, a stronger sense of self-worth.
Clients can also release aggression safely and healthily while gardening, whether by breaking up ground or removing weeds. Children can learn to redirect their angry emotions and enhance their self-control.
Finally, clients may express themselves artistically when they arrange flowers or create a landscape, and they can be proud of their creative achievements.
Gardening helps individuals develop and enhance their basic motor skills and coordination. They use muscles that they may not have used much previously. A client, for example, may stretch their fingers to transplant seedlings. Horticultural treatment promotes healthy physical exercise in the sun and fresh air.
Clients collaborate to achieve a common goal during Horticultural Therapy sessions. They learn to appreciate one another, work together, and share duties. Clients love the camaraderie of sharing fruit with one another and the satisfaction of knowing they are helping others.
According to recent research, children who engage in a year-long gardening programme improve their general life skills, such as collaboration, communication, and self-awareness. Gardening allows youngsters to collaborate, make decisions, and solve difficulties. It makes them feel appreciated and gives them a feeling of belonging.
Academic curriculum serves as the foundation for anyone interested in pursuing a career in Horticultural Therapy (HT). Horticultural Therapy education is interdisciplinary, including studies in human sciences, plant sciences, and horticultural treatment concepts and methodologies.
Although all graduates are eligible for this position, the following degrees and HND topics may improve your chances:
- Landscape architecture/design
- Plant science/biology
- Occupational therapy
- Social work
Horticultural treatment is typically pursued as a second job. Applicants frequently have prior experience in social work or social care, education, occupational therapy, or nursing. Others may have a horticulture background or substantial volunteer involvement in horticultural activities. It is feasible to enter this area of work without a degree or HND, but companies are increasingly searching for multi-skilled workers with a combination of experience and formal certification.
The nonprofit organisation Thrive provides a variety of STH (social and therapeutic horticulture) courses, ranging from one-day to lengthier approved courses culminating to a professional degree. A two-year Diploma in Social and Therapeutic Horticulture is included (DipSTH). Horticulture can be studied at the postgraduate level, although there are presently no programmes in horticultural treatment. Before applying, conduct research to ensure that the courses match your job development needs. Look for horticulture postgraduate courses. If you work with children, you must additionally pass a Disclosure and Barring Service check.
Must have skills:
Some of the skills that you will have to possess or acquire in order to become a Horticultural Therapist may include:
- Skills in counselling, such as active listening and a non-judgmental attitude
- Effective verbal communication
- Background in psychology
- Skills in sensitivity and empathy
- Teaching expertise and curriculum development skills
- The ability to work as a part of a team
- Leadership qualities
- Skills in manual labour
- Computer literacy (including familiarity with industry-standard software)
Horticultural expertise and a recognised certification, such as a national certificate in horticulture, a degree, or a foundation degree, are nearly always required for advertised positions.
You should seek to gain job experience with children or people in caring environments, which you may accomplish as a volunteer in special schools or hospitals. You may be able to volunteer if you live near Thrive’s gardens in Battersea Park in South London, Beech Hill in Reading, or Kings Heath Park in Birmingham. You can also contact the organisation to gain access to a database of garden initiatives in the United Kingdom that may provide volunteer opportunities.
Horticultural Therapy, like occupational therapy, might be used as part of a larger function. With experience and additional study, you might advance to a supervisory or research position. You might work for yourself or train and oversee trainees in therapeutic horticulture practices. You may have an edge if you are transitioning from other areas of horticulture or occupations such as social care, occupational therapy, nursing, or teaching.
The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) provides horticulture certifications ranging from basic courses to certificates for seasoned professionals. To be eligible for the RHS Master of Horticultural award, MHort (RHS), you must have at least four years of full-time work experience in a professional horticulture setting, one year of which must be in a supervisory role or position of responsibility, and a Level 3 certificate in horticulture.
- Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture, Landscape architecture/design, Plant science/biology, Education, Psychology, Occupational therapy, Social work or a related field.
- Master’s degree in the above-noted fields.