A garden of therapeutic environments for therapists to use as a tool during their therapy sessions for adolescents with depression

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Loudin, Jennifer Marie
Hunt, Martha A.
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Thesis (M.L.A.)
Department of Landscape Architecture
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Discussing personal issues with an outside source such as a therapist has been proven to enhance one’s well-being, especially if one is an adolescent. Most therapy sessions are conducted in an indoor setting with very few views of nature. Unfortunately, there are a limited number of initiatives and examples that bring therapy sessions to an outdoor setting. This creative project explores how the landscape can be used as a tool for therapists when conducting a session for adolescents (ages 12-18) with depression. The purpose of this creative project is to determine avenues for therapists to use the landscape to help depressed adolescents regain control. The research process included interviews with mental health counselors and doctoral students in psychology; a review of literature from various psychology scholars and landscape design disciplines, and an analysis of two therapeutic garden case studies. Horticultural and sensory therapies were found to be highly beneficial for depressed adolescents. These major findings were implemented into the final design of this creative project located on the property of Still Waters Professional Counseling Center in Muncie, Indiana. This therapeutic landscape consists of four environments: a natural environment area, a butterfly garden, a horticultural area, and a sensory garden.