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How to become a Horticultural Therapist

horticultural therapist careers

What does a Horticultural Therapist do?

Horticultural therapists use horticultural activities and environments as a means of positively influencing well- being, emotions, health and behaviour.

Horticultural therapists work with specific groups, such as those with physical disabilities, mental health problems and learning difficulties, those recovering from major injuries or illnesses, and elderly people. Some Horticultural therapists develop programmes for the rehabilitation of offenders or those suffering from drug or alcohol abuse. This often involves liaising with other professionals such as psychologists and social workers.

Horticultural therapists programmes are tailored to the needs of individual clients, and could be aimed at:

  • developing confidence, self-esteem, practical or social skills
  • encouraging social inclusion
  • learning or re-learning basic skills including numeracy and literacy
  • providing sensory stimulus
  • providing supportive outdoor activity and exercise to restore strength and mobility after an accident or illness
  • providing tranquil, restorative environments.
Therapists provide for support clients, encouraging them to achieve their objectives and monitoring their progress.

Some clients may be supported in gaining horticultural qualifications or going on to open or supported employment.

Horticultural therapists may also manage staff and volunteers, secure funding, draw up detailed proposals for developing projects, and promote their work to other professionals.

What's the working environment like working as a Horticultural Therapist?

Working hours vary, and may include weekends and evenings. Part-time hours may be available.

There may be opportunities to work abroad, especially in the USA, where horticultural therapy is well-established.

What does it take to become a Horticultural Therapist?

To be a horticultural therapist you need:

  • enthusiasm and a keen interest in horticulture
  • patience, tolerance and understanding
  • the ability to relate positively and respectfully to all kinds of people
  • the ability to encourage and motivate
  • the ability to teach various skills
  • the ability to make the most of limited budgets
  • awareness of health and safety issues.

Horticultural Therapist Career Opportunities

Horticultural therapy is a fairly new area and relatively few posts are advertised.

Therapists work in a variety of settings including day services/community based projects, residential care, rehabilitation units, hospitals, prisons, charitable and voluntary organisations, schools and specialist colleges.

Thrive employs therapists in four gardens around the UK.

Some organisations may offer relevant posts under alternative job titles such as project worker or horticultural trainer.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Horticultural Therapist that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Thrive
The Geoffrey Udall Centre
Beech Hill
Reading
RG7 2AT
Tel:0118 988 5688
www.thrive.org.uk

Nottingham Trent University
School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Brackenhurst
Southwell
Nottinghamshire
Tel: 01636 817099
www.ntu.ac.uk

Coventry University
Priory Street
Coventry
CV1 5FB
Tel: 024 7688 7688
www.coventry.ac.uk

Myerscough College
Myerscough Hall
Bilsborrow
Preston
PR3 0RY
Tel: 01995 642211
www.myerscough.ac.uk

University of Reading
Whiteknights
PO Box 217
Reading
RG6 6AH
Tel: 0118 987 5123
www.rdg.ac.uk

Royal Horticultural Society
Horticultural Training Officer
RHS Garden
Wisley
Woking
Surrey
GU23 6QB
www.rhs.org.uk

Institute of Horticulture
14-15 Belgrave Square
London
SW1X 8PS
www.horticulture.org.uk

Lantra
Lantra House
Stoneleigh Park
Nr Coventry
Warwickshire
CV8 2LG
Tel: 0845 707 8007
www.lantra.co.uk

Lantra career advice sites:

www.ajobin.com

www.afuturein.com