What is the job description and role of a Horticultural Therapist? What are the duties and responsibilities of a Horticultural Therapist?
Horticultural Therapist Job Description
Horticultural therapists (generally called social and therapeutic horticulture (STH) practitioners within the field) use gardening, plants and horticulture to help individuals develop. They work with a wide range of people who are disabled or disadvantaged by age, circumstance or ability. Clients include those recovering from illness, people with learning and behavioural difficulties and people with mental ill health such as depression or dementia.
Horticultural therapists work with clients to promote health and well-being. Through individually tailored STH programmes and with caring and observant encouragement, they help clients develop across physical, cognitive, social and emotional spectrums.
Horticultural therapy is used in social, vocational and therapy programmes, providing outdoor activity and physical exercise in a supportive atmosphere. Additionally, horticultural therapy makes use of the passive qualities of nature to provide levels of sensory stimulus and impact that help towards achieving positive outcomes.
Horticultural therapy is an emerging profession that forms a large and culturally significant part of green care, the conceptual framework using other natural mediums for therapy such as care farming and ecotherapy.
Job Description / Duties / Functions / Roles / Responsibilities of a Horticultural Therapist
- assisting individuals to improve their social and practical horticulture skills;
- encouraging individuals to gain pleasure from land use;
- liaising with external statutory and voluntary services to provide a multidisciplinary, person-centred approach;
- maintaining daily records, including job sheets, time sheets and individual portfolios of evidence of work;
- advising on equipment and techniques to enable disabled people to access horticulture;
- designing and implementing person-centred horticultural programmes for people of all ages with disabilities;
- ensuring activities match the content of nationally recognised awards;
- planning each day’s work with individuals;
- adjusting activities to make them more effective;
- taking part in discussions with other professionals, such as social workers and psychologists;
- setting tasks according to the physical and mental needs/abilities of individuals;
- teaching individuals horticultural tasks such as sowing seeds, setting out plants, planting out, lawn mowing, soil preparation and pruning;
- interacting with individuals to develop confidence and self-esteem through their work;
- closely observing individuals to monitor their progress;
- assessing the effectiveness of individual programmes;
- carrying out research on the effectiveness of horticultural therapy, often in cooperation with academics;
- managing staff and volunteers;
- devising and coordinating activity programmes and monitoring budgets;
- using assessment methods and outcome measurement in order to record, monitor and evaluate individual achievements, which may include making initial assessments, planning daily tasks and supporting individuals often using a diary system;
- carrying out regular one-to-one appraisals, updates and reviews;
- raising funds and drawing up detailed proposals for developing projects;
- promoting gardening and horticulture to the general public.
- educating clients to use tools and materials safely;
- helping individuals record their activities and achievements by writing simple summaries or drawing pictures;