Horticultural Therapy at Ozark Trails Promotes Positive Change in Students
Ozark Trails understands that parents want to send a child to a safe, monitored environment where their child receives personal care, and individual therapies that help heal emotional, behavioral and mental disorders–whether brought on by trauma, foster care, adoption or family issues.
And while the young teen enrolls our therapeutic boarding school for counseling, treatment, and improving academic/life skills, Ozark Trails also helps students improve emotional and physical health through Horticultural Therapy.
What is Horticultural Therapy?
Horticultural therapy utilizes gardening activities together with traditional counseling techniques to meet specific therapeutic treatment goals. Horticultural Therapy can be effective for adolescents who usually see it as a nonthreatening form of treatment.
The physical and mental benefits of Horticultural therapy: helps improve memory, cognitive abilities, task initiation, language skills, and socialization, improves mood, relieves stress and anxiety, prolongs attention span and boosts self-esteem. 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.
Childhood behavioral health conditions that horticultural therapists work with include, but are not limited to: PTSD, depression, anxiety, and ADHD.
Horticultural Therapy Improves a Student’s Mind and Body at Ozark Trails.
Horticultural Therapy can help a student develop and improve basic motor skills and coordination as they walk, knell, and dig in the garden’s dirt to plant and harvest flowers and vegetables.
Adolescents can also relieve aggression in a safe and healthy way while gardening, and connecting with nature. In addition, Horticultural Therapy can be used to provide a sense of accomplishment and responsibility, and ultimately, a greater sense of self-worth.
Gardening gives teen boys and girls the chance to work together, make decisions and solve problems.
Horticultural Therapists help enhance each student’s social, cognitive and physiological functioning while they work in the garden and care for developing plants. Seeing the outcome of garden work—whether with plants, flowers or vegetables–motivates a positive change in a student’s thoughts and behavior. It also ignites an awareness of personal responsibility and environmental awareness.
Horticultural Therapy also is a powerful tool for confidence building and stress reduction (gardening has been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol). And as students work in a garden together, they improve teamwork, communication and gain higher self-understanding.
That’s why Ozark Trails offers Horticultural Therapy in addition to Individual and Group therapy. We want each student to experience effective counseling as well as improve daily life at school, and back home with family.