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.
The concept of ecotherapy was first clinically introduced in 1996 by a pastoral counselor named Howard Clinebell, though the belief that gardening provides 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.
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.
Horticulture and ecotherapy will involve sessions that discuss the importance of leading a healthy, active lifestyle backed by the right 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 involves direct interactions with plants and soil. The act of engaging in an activity that promotes growth, healing, and nurturing is highly therapeutic. 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), it 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 they can pursue outside of 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, and adventure activities like rock climbing, among other experiential therapies.
As a therapeutic resource, ecotherapy offers both physical and emotional benefits to clients being 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. Being out in green spaces has been shown to reduce blood pressure and lower the heart rate, and the exercise involved helps with weight management.
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.
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.
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