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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

NON-VERBAL COMMUNICATION BETWEEN PEOPLE AND PLANTS - PHYSICAL COUNTER-TRANSFERENCE AND RESONANCE AS MODELS FOR UNDERSTANDING PEOPLE-PLANT INTERACTIONS

Author:   K. Neuberger
Keywords:   counter-transference, physical resonance, mirror exercise, phyto-resonance, people-plant-relations, conceptual framework
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2012.954.9
Abstract:
The purpose of this presentation is to contribute to the conceptual framework of “People-Plant-Relations” at the micro-level. Communication basically is the exchange of information between sender and receiver and is the constituent matrix of human interaction. Counter-transference is one aspect of non-verbal communication and part of most personal communicational settings. It has best been researched in regard to psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. Beside psychological aspects, physical aspects of counter-transference have been long neglected. They get more recognition in recent literature on counter-transference in the field of psychotherapy. “Physical counter-transference” is defined as the human experience of physical sensations in the presence of another person. Some authors use the term resonance, because it relates more clearly to the physical aspects. Both concepts are very similar regarding the physical aspects and can be applied to human-plant interactions as well. It is believed that people can be encouraged to experience resonance, e.g. physical sensations of a positive and healing nature in the presence of plants, similarly to physical counter-transference or resonance in the presence of another individual. Moreover, it is a model for how humans – as receivers – are influenced by plants – as senders of information. The physical aspect in viewing and researching people and plants is most obvious and easily accessible, as both are living beings spreading and moving basically in the same space visible above the soil. This model is important to explain some of the positive effects plants have on people.

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