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Horticulture & Ecotherapy

Horticulture & Ecotherapy at The Raleigh House

The Raleigh House offers gardening as therapy for mental health and addiction recovery. Our horticulture and garden therapy programs are designed to help participants build healthy coping mechanisms, allowing them to manage negative impulses and behaviors effectively.

One of the best ways to heal from emotional or physical trauma is simply going back to nature. Horticulture and ecotherapy programs help people recover from substance use disorder by providing activities with demonstrable benefits to physical and psychological health.

The Raleigh House offers horticulture and ecotherapy programs that support treatment plans for substance use disorder and co-occurring conditions.

What Is Horticulture & Ecotherapy?

Horticulture therapy for mental health is rooted in practices and approaches dating back to the 19th century.

What Is Horticulture Therapy?

Horticulture therapy is an intervention that helps clients address mental health challenges by learning or relearning skills through garden therapy programs facilitated by a certified horticultural therapist.

Dr. Benjamin Rush first recognized gardening therapy for mental health as having a psychological benefit in the 1812 work, “Observations and Inquiries upon the Diseases of the Mind.”

What Is Ecotherapy?

The concept of ecotherapy was first clinically introduced in 1996 by a pastoral counselor named Howard Clinebell. However, the belief that nature and green spaces provide psychic and spiritual healing goes back hundreds of years.

Horticulture and ecotherapy are treatment approaches that involve participating in plant-focused activities in natural green spaces, such as gardening or walking in nature.

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Horticulture and ecotherapy offer the mental health benefits of being in a natural environment with the therapeutic advantage of structured treatment by a trained professional.

Types of Horticulture & Ecotherapy

Horticulture and ecotherapy will involve sessions that discuss the importance of leading a healthy, active lifestyle backed by proper nutrition and emotional and physical health support.

While both horticulture and ecotherapy align in many respects—they both involve participating in nature-based activities—there are a few key differences.

Horticulture Therapy

Horticulture therapy involves direct interactions with plants and soil. The act of engaging in an activity that promotes growth, healing, and nurturing is highly therapeutic.

Gardening as therapy for mental health must be performed by a therapist with in-depth experience in addiction treatment. Under the guidance of a trained and certified horticulture therapist, clients can work through their diverse emotional challenges in a rewarding way.

Not only does gardening manage the production of cortisol (the stress hormone), but it also allows the client to slowly see the results of their dedication in the form of beautiful flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Moreover, clients can participate in a healthy activity outside the rehabilitation setting.


Ecotherapy is also commonly known as nature therapy or green therapy. While horticulture therapy can be considered a form of ecotherapy, ecotherapy can involve numerous additional activities.

Ecotherapy programs might include:

  • Gardening
  • Nature walks.
  • Animal-assisted psychotherapy.
  • Conservation
  • Farming
  • Stargazing
  • Rock climbing
  • And other experiential therapies.

As a therapeutic resource, ecotherapy offers both physical and emotional benefits to those treated for substance misuse and co-occurring mood disorders. In addition to ecotherapy providing a calming outlet that facilitates focus and a sense of accomplishment, it also offers excellent cardiovascular benefits.

The exercise involved in being out in green spaces has been shown to reduce blood pressure, lower the heart rate, and help with weight management.

The Raleigh House Horticulture & Ecotherapy

If you are struggling with substance misuse, The Raleigh House offers a holistic approach to recovery. We are proud to provide abundant resources that have helped diverse clients manage their substance use effectively and for the long term.

Where Do I Find Eco Therapy Near Me?

At The Raleigh House, we are proud to offer exceptional space and scenery for horticulture therapy for mental health. Our garden therapy programs in Denver, facilitated by a certified horticultural therapist, give clients the support and resources they need to make lasting positive change.

Clients of The Raleigh House are given access to extraordinary natural environments and lush green spaces where they can pursue healing and sobriety in safety and comfort. At our 40-acre Eastern Colorado ranch, all guests are encouraged to use the full benefit of the breathtaking landscape to enhance and support therapeutic intervention.

Don’t let addiction define you—write your own story. Contact us today.

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