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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 954: X International People-Plant Symposium on Digging Deeper: Approaches to Research in Horticultural Therapy and Therapeutic Horticulture

THE ADDED VALUE AND EFFECTS OF CARE FARMS ON CLIENTS WITH PSYCHIATRIC OR ADDICTION PROBLEMS

Authors:   M. Elings, A. Beerens
Keywords:   green care farms, mental illness, psychiatry, addiction care, rehabilitation
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2012.954.6
Abstract:
This paper presents the results of a qualitative research study among people with a psychiatric or addiction history, who follow a day-activity program on different green care farms. Green care farms provide an opportunity for a useful occupational activity for different kinds of client groups and are a growing phenomenon in the Netherlands. Horticultural therapy often takes place on these care farms. In general, participants start at green care farms without precise expectations; most of them are looking for a productive way of spending their time. Once working on a farm they come to appreciate in particular the social benefits, such as belonging to a group, feeling at ease, and the informality of the situation. In addition, they also appreciate the space and being involved in useful activities. Undertaking farming activities helps participants feel useful and healthier and they develop more self-esteem, self-respect, and responsibility. Working on a green care farm can contribute to increase structure and discipline in the lives of participants, which can create the foundation for new activities or (voluntary) work elsewhere.

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