Teens and horticulture therapy don’t seem like an obvious fit. But for teens who are troubled and face constant challenges both at home and in school, horticultural therapy can be highly impactful and even life-changing.
As a parent or a caregiver, you face your own set of trials and hardships as you seek the best ways to show up and support your loved one. And you’re not alone. At Pacific Quest, we want you to feel heard, understood, and that you’re enrolling your teen in therapy that is unique and beneficial for a lifetime.
According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, horticulture therapy techniques “are employed to assist participants to learn new skills or regain those that are lost. Horticultural therapy helps improve memory, cognitive abilities, task initiation, language skills, and socialization. In physical rehabilitation, horticultural therapy can help strengthen muscles and improve coordination, balance, and endurance. In vocational horticultural therapy settings, people learn to work independently, problem solve, and follow directions.” The real-life benefits are truly endless. If you have ever gardened or walked in nature, you understand the positive benefits of engaging with the environment.
Therapeutic gardens are very specifically designed to meet the needs of the individual seeking therapy. The garden is full of rehabilitative plants that have healing properties by offering a full sensory experience (color, fragrance, texture). The beautiful and peaceful design promotes health and well-being. Our teens tend to the gardens and in those roles, they experience what it’s like to care for a living entity; they get to cultivate the earth instead of battling their internal struggles. Watching their gardens flourish and grow can be incredibly empowering and life-affirming. Teens and horticulture therapy is about seeing and understanding growth. These skills then become transferable and applicable to their lives beyond the garden.
Here are some quick facts about teens and horticulture therapy:
- Research has found that stimulating the senses through patterned repetitive activities in nature is what has shaped the neurological foundation of the human psyche.
- Anthropologists have confirmed that for generations, families and communities throughout human history have relied on nature not only for the basic need for food and resources, but also for beauty, curiosity and the cultural necessity of ritual and spiritual exploration.
- Research in neuropsychology and behavioral epigenetics suggests the biological healing response in the autonomic nervous system has been shaped by relational experiences and direct contact with the natural environment.
And according to the University of Washington College of the Environment:
- “A study of children with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) who played in windowless indoor settings had significantly more severe symptoms than those who played in grassy, outdoor spaces.
- Patients with clinical depression who participated in routine therapeutic gardening activities experienced a reduction of severity of depression, and increased attentional capacity, benefits that lasted up to three months after the program ended.”
If you’re still unsure if horticulture therapy is right for your teen, just see what some parents and alumni have said:
- “Best program out there. We got our amazing daughter back and she is now even more amazing. We have and will continue to recommend this program. Even as parents we learned a lot about ourselves and are better parents and people because of our experience with Pacific Quest.” -PQ Parent
- “We felt that Pacific Quest was a very successful program for our son. I know he agrees. We are so grateful for the skilled, caring, and appropriate experience he had. It has truly changed his life. He attended an RTC for a year afterwards, and the combination of the two programs has helped him get on a healthy and productive path to art school, which is his dream. Thank you!” -PQ Parent
- “Pacific Quest gave me the boost I needed to get back on track with my ambitions in life. I transitioned from a child who didn’t know how to tap into their motivations (failing every class I took in the process) to someone who was highly motivated and self-confident, ultimately graduating high school in the top 10% of my class with a sense of purpose, ready to take on college.” -PQ Alumni
At Pacific Quest, we offer different kinds of therapies to help your teen overcome their struggles and elevate their sense of self-awareness. We do this by teaching your teens practical skills, the process of growth and that change is in fact sustainable and most importantly, we give them a sense of purpose.
Teens learn reciprocity and learn how to nurture the food they eat and exist within a community that is loving and supportive. Visit the Pacific Quest Admissions Page now and find out how to enroll your teen in our horticulture therapy program.