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Frequently Asked Questions

About Horticultural Therapy

What is Horticultural Therapy?

Horticultural Therapy (HT) is a formal practice that uses plants, horticultural activities, and garden landscapes/ecosystems to promote health and well-being for its participants.

HT sessions are facilitated by a trained Horticultural Therapy professional. HT is goal oriented with defined outcomes and assessment procedures. 

HT goals, objectives, and assessments are specific, clinical, and in some part pre-determined through interviews prior to therapy taking place.

The practice of HT involves a broad range of services, settings, and populations with a focus on measurable outcomes and/or improvement of symptoms. 

HT can be employed through 3 Models of Practice: 

  1. Therapeutic/ Clinical Model 
  2. Vocational Model
  3. Wellness Model

What is Therapeutic Horticulture?

Therapeutic Horticulture (TH) is an approach within Horticultural Therapy, and is the purposeful use of plants and plant-related activities to promote health and wellness for an individual or group.

TH sessions are facilitated by a trained Horticultural Therapy professional. Therapeutic Horticulture is chosen based on a Therapist’s assessment of the client’s need and/or the setting.

TH practice goes beyond a gardening program and involves guiding a client’s therapeutic relationship with nature and plants. 

TH involves a broad range of services, settings, and populations, and may be more suitable when non-medical assessments are preferred &/or the setting is not appropriate for clinical interventions.

TH goals, objectives, and assessments are general rather than clinical.

TH goals and objectives are not necessarily discussed nor formally documented, and they may be flexible, self-directed, and set at the time of the session.

What does a Horticultural Therapist do?

Registered Horticultural Therapists come from a rich variety of backgrounds, all with the specialization and passion for connecting humans with plants, nature, and gardening for the specific purpose of increasing health and well-being. Horticultural Therapists facilitate therapeutic experiences based on theories of Biophilia (Wilson, 1984) and Hortiphilia (Sacks, 2019). To gain a grasp on the scope of practice for a Horticultural Therapy Professional, please refer to the CHTA Core Skills & Knowledge, and the CHTA Professional Code of Ethics.

What is the difference between a Registered Horticultural Therapist, a Horticultural Therapy Technician, and other Horticultural Therapy professionals?

The CHTA grants two levels of registration, Registered Horticultural Therapist (HTR) and Horticultural Therapy Technician (HTT).

 1. Registered Horticultural Therapist (HTR): 
This designation requires the highest level of education and experience and is the top tier of professional registration available in Canada. This title identifies that the professional has received a CHTA HTR designation and maintained membership in good standing. As the highest designation available, the professional has a reciprocal responsibility for the field of HT; offering this individual an opportunity to provide HT/TH education, participate on the CHTA Registration Committee, and/or apply to offer Mentorship and Internships. One must hold this designation (HTR) to use the title of Horticultural Therapist.

 2. Horticultural Therapy Technician (HTT):
This title is reserved for a professional who has successfully completed the CHTA’s professional registration process for this level of designation and has maintained membership in good standing. This would be considered the second tier of practice as it requires slightly less experience to attain, requiring 7 application points rather than 10 points. A Horticultural Therapy Technician is permitted to run Horticultural Therapy or Therapeutic Horticulture programming, but may not use the title  of Horticultural Therapist.

Only an HTR should title themselves a “Horticultural Therapist” and a HTT would title themselves “Horticultural Therapy Technician”.

About the CHTA

Who are the people behind the CHTA?

The CHTA is a volunteer-run organization made up of a team of generous, skilled CHTA members. The CHTA Board meets twice per month, and is supported by our Chair, Vice-Chair, a team of Committee Coordinators, and Members-at-Large. Each Committee is comprised of valued volunteers, and these Committees meet monthly. If you’re interested in volunteering with the CHTA, please reach out to [email protected].

How can I connect with other Horticultural Therapy practitioners in my area? What networking opportunities does the CHTA offer?

There are several ways we invite you to connect to our national and international HT community.  Be sure to attend our regular online gatherings to connect with like-hearted people and members from around the globe! We discuss HT-related books, films, professional resources, and so much more!

We hold an annual conference where presenters and members learn, share, connect, and grow together. For more information click here or contact [email protected].

If you have any local groups or networks you think would be of interest to our members, please reach out to [email protected]. We are always working on more ways to connect our members, so stay tuned!

Connect with us over social media:

Education

Where can you receive education for Horticultural Therapy?

An individual seeking HT/TH education can begin with an HT Certificate, or a combination of shorter HT/TH courses or programs that meet the full requirements of the CHTA Core Skills and Knowledge. There are currently two Canadian CHTA approved Horticultural Therapy certificate programs:

1. Catkin Gardens Horticultural Therapy Certificate,
offered in person by Ann Kent, HTM*, on Vancouver Island

2. Horticulture as Therapy,
an online HT certificate offered by Mitchell Hewson, HTM*.

Alternatively, you can begin blending HT/TH education, such as virtual programs, workshops, and the CHTA Conference.

To learn more about the current list of HT/TH related education in Canada, please see the Education page of the website, or email [email protected] to inquire.

*HTM, Horticultural Therapy Master, identifies a level of Registration from the AHTA that is no longer offered.

Where can I find current HT resources?

Check out our Resources page to see a collection of evidence-based research articles supporting our growing profession! On our members-only resources page, you’ll also find a recommended reading list, past newsletters, and AGM publications.

Do I need additional HT/ TH training?

To become a Registered Horticultural Therapist, or a Horticultural Therapy Technician, the Registration Committee will want to see a balance of Horticultural Therapy, Horticulture, and Human Services education. To understand where you may need to supplement your educational background, or what may be the next educational steps for you, please review the CHTA Core Skills & Knowledge document. 

We are happy to support you if you have questions regarding HT education, and you can contact us at [email protected].

Employment

How can I find a job in the field of Horticultural Therapy/ Therapeutic Horticulture?

Horticultural Therapy Professionals can work in a variety of structures (employee or self-employed, part-time, full-time, independent contractor, etc). While you may work as an independent contractor or employee, both can participate as a member of a department or a service team.

There are a number of jobs advertised through the CHTA on our Members-Only Portal. HT/TH professionals may develop their own contracts in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, long-term-care homes, community support associations, schools, community gardens, botanical gardens, correctional facilities, and post-secondary settings.

If you’re unsure of where to start, consider where you want to work. Do you hope to be outside? Or bring nature inside? What population do you want to work with? Do you lean towards a clinical setting, or a community setting, or something else? Your skills and your passions will lead you to the place and people that need Horticultural Therapy and Therapeutic Horticulture!

Membership

How and when do I renew my membership?

CHTA membership is renewed annually online at members.chta.ca through your membership account page. Periodic email prompts are sent out to encourage membership renewal, but you can renew your membership at any point in the year prior to your membership renewal date.

How much does a general membership cost?

There are three tiers of general membership:

  1. Student Membership: $55.00
  2. Individual Membership: $75.00 
  3. Business Membership: $115.00

These costs are different from a professional’s membership fees. Please see the details of our three tiers of membership listed on our membership page.

How much does a professional membership cost?

If you are a practicing HTT/HTR within Canada, you are required to maintain a CHTA Professional Membership to keep your registration status and designation in good standing. You may choose a Professional Membership option that best suits your needs (Individual or Business).

How do I access the CHTA newsletter?

The CHTA newsletter is one of our membership benefits. If you’re interested in receiving our newsletters, and other valuable educational and professional resources, consider joining the CHTA as a member!

Members also receive a variety of informational and promotional emails, ranging from webinar announcements, programming ideas, to networking opportunities such as our virtual book club.

Professional Registration

How do I attain points for Professional Registration?

Points towards HTT/HTR Registration are outlined in the CHTA Guidelines for Professional Registration.

To attain points for HTT/HTR registration, you will need a combination of education and experience in horticultural therapy, horticulture, and human services. Many of our professionals  come from a wide range of backgrounds so don’t be discouraged! Review your educational and professional history and see how it may fit into the CHTA’s Core Skills & Knowledge. Have you taken a Horticultural Therapy/Therapeutic Horticulture course? Have you studied horticulture? Have you worked in horticulture? Have you volunteered with a Horticultural Therapy program?

If you’re not sure if your education or practical experiences are applicable, please reach out to us! A Registration Committee member can answer your questions and help you to match your skills and abilities with the registration requirements. Contact our Registration Committee Coordinator at [email protected] 

What professional title can I use before I am Registered by the CHTA?

For an individual who has not attained either of the above CHTA-approved designations, there are a range of titles that may be appropriate.

1: Horticultural Therapy Practitioner
This is a title that we encourage professionals to use once they:
a. have completed the Education points required under the Guidelines for Professional Registration (and b. are now completing the Practical points)
b. are eligible to apply for professional registration (have been a CHTA member for one year minimum)
c. are actively and intentionally pursuing HTR registration
d. are currently working in the field of Horticultural Therapy

This title comes with those parameters as it evidences a dedicated pathway towards eventual professional registration.

2: Therapeutic Horticulture Practitioner
If you meet criteria a-c above, but practice Therapeutic Horticulture primarily (see definitions above), this title would be a fit. This is a title we encourage professionals to use once they have completed their HT Educational components , are actively working in the field of non-clinical Therapeutic Horticulture, and are eligible (CHTA member for one year minimum) and on the pathway to pursue HTR registration.

3: Therapeutic Gardener 
This title can be utilized to reflect the training of a professional who meets the above criteria , but is not a ‘Horticulturist’ (alternative to being  referred to as a ‘Therapeutic Horticulturist’).

4: Nature Based Specialization
For an individual who does not intend to pursue registration, but who does include Horticultural Therapy or Therapeutic Horticulture practices into their profession, there may be a title that more succinctly complements your unique, valued professional background. These can be titles with the precluding specialization of ‘nature-based’, such as a nature-based educator, a nature-based physiotherapist, or a nature-based counselor, among others.

Professional Practice

How do I purchase professional liability insurance?

Each HT professional may pursue the insurance that best suits their needs and location. If you are not connected to any prior company, Holman Insurance Brokers Ltd, from Markham, Ontario, has specific Professional Liability and Commercial General Liability Insurance for Horticultural Therapists.

Can I teach a Horticultural Therapy program? How do I ensure my course is approved & supported by the CHTA?

If you are a formally trained Horticultural Therapy Professional, you likely have a skillset or perspective that could lend to valuable HT education. The CHTA seeks educators who have a level of extensive professional experience and a confidence in the field of HT. This lived, professional experience is considered a vital component to effective HT/TH education.

HT Education can range from online courses, weekend workshops, to in-depth, multi-day programs. To pursue guidance or support for your educational program, we invite you to connect with the Education Committee at [email protected]. We can provide guidance on your contents for an educational program and help you determine how many hours your course is approved for when students apply for Professional Registration with the CHTA.

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