Diethelm, K. 1994. Horticultural therapy in a state hospital setting. In: Joel Flagler and Raymond P. Poincelot, Editors., People-Plant Relationships: Setting Research Priorities, A National Symposium (proceedings), Hayworth Press, Inc., Binghamton, NY 13904-1580.

With the continuing move toward de-institutionalization of the mentally ill, state hospitals are increasingly populated by those least able to profit from the traditional treatments of medication, psychotherapy, social and occupational therapies. Creating programs for those remaining is complicated not only by the severity of the illnesses but by limited funding for public facilities. Gardening activities tend to be intrinsically motivating and seem to promote hope in an often defeated and apathetic population. Such activities, however, have not been a part of the usual treatment process. Rather, if available at all, it has been considered more strictly "recreational". There is a need to establish Horticultural Therapy as a tool for reaching clinical goals.

This presentation describes a group efficacy study being carried out at Taunton State Hospital (in Massachusetts). Included will be a report on the development of a rating scale. Incorporated into the scale are patient treatment goals designed by hospital ward interdisciplinary teams. In addition, some anecdotal research in the form of case illustrations of the benefits of the Horticultural Therapy program will be presented.