Horticultural therapy education and training, based on Vancouver Island, BC:

Explore the fields of horticultural therapy (HT), therapeutic horticulture (TH), and nature-based therapy in an exciting inter-disciplinary program.

HT courses appeal to healthcare professionals, educators, horticulturists, landscape designers and others wishing to learn more about connecting people, plants, and nature. Some students plan to explore career opportunities in horticultural therapy and therapeutic horticulture.

Four courses provide up to 160 hours of lively, land-based instruction and supervised study projects, based near Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island.

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Courses in 2022-23:

For a short summary of the HT Certificate courses and a schedule for 2022-23, please download the 2022-23 HT Certificate PDF file from the bottom of this page.  We follow a traditional academic year with the fall session geared to new students.

If you wish to be added to  the distribution list for Ann's quarterly newsletter, which provides advance notice for upcoming events, please contact Ann at  ann@catkingardens.ca.  

September sessions for both courses offered this fall sold out as of February 11. Registration for the October option for the Programming course closed on May 31.

The timeline and on-site dates for HT Certificate courses offered in the spring and fall of 2023 will be available in November, 2022.

Frequently asked questions about horticultural therapy training - FAQ's:

Where are Horticultural Therapy Certificate classes held?

In recent years, Ann offered horticulture and nature studies, design modules, and field trips at several different locations in Vancouver including the UBC Botanical Garden, VanDusen Botanical Garden, and local churches and community centres.

In 2020, Ann realized a long held dream of moving her HT practice from an urban to a rural setting, on central Vancouver Island west of Qualicum Beach.  HT courses resumed in 2021, with well-equipped indoor and outdoor instructional spaces surrounded by gardens and a beautiful forest.  

Students explore settings in which TH, HT, or nature-based wellness programs might be offered and consider the potential for collaboration and partnership with agencies in their own communities.

What about TH and HT programs for specific populations?

Content focuses on evidence-based literature and examples of contemporary horticulture, gardening, and nature-based therapy programs that serve the needs of diverse populations - locally, elsewhere in Canada, and around the world.

Once registered, students receive a comprehensive list of agencies on Vancouver Island and in the Greater Vancouver area that provide public access to settings that offer TH/HT programs and/or therapeutic gardens. Also included are local habitat or conservation areas that provide opportunities to explore the importance of access to nature and the natural landscape.

Hands-on study units explore adaptations that can be made for activities in horticulture, nature, floral, and botanical craft programs. The small cohort in these courses allows for much discussion in class - we learn a lot from each other's experiences.

For those interested in working in therapeutic horticulture, the first two courses, Programming for All Seasons and Creating Therapeutic Gardens provide excellent foundation knowledge and skill sets.

For those considering work as a horticultural therapist in a clinical setting, Horticultural Therapy Techniques and The Practice of Horticultural Therapy  include units on  developing  specific objectives and measurable outcomes for individual clients and using various methods for documentation. 

What is included in each course fee?                                          

The course fee includes instruction; comprehensive, evidence-based research and reference materials specific to each course; TH/HT program planning, session planning, and assessment templates; and plant material and other supplies required for hands-on activities.

The teaching team is led by Ann Kent HTM, a registered horticultural therapist and professional member of the CHTA and the AHTA.

Two textbooks are NOT included in the course fees. They are required to support pre-reading lists for each course and to assist with two written assignments that you are given in each course. If you would like to check them out, here are the titles:

The Profession and Practice of Horticultural Therapy, 1st edition, 2019 CRC Press, ed. Rebecca L. Haller, Karen L. Kennedy, Christine L. Capra. 384 pages.

Therapeutic Gardens: Design for Healing Spaces, Daniel Winterbottom and Amy Wagenfeld, Timber Press, 2015. 324 pages. 

Is a statement of completion provided?

Yes. A detailed statement of completion is provided to assist those who are completing continuing education requirements for professional associations in horticultural therapy and related disciplines. The documentation is also helpful to those who apply for funding support to develop TH and HT programs.

A  Horticultural Therapy Certificate is provided upon completion of requirements for all four courses. Courses in the Horticultural Therapy Professional Development Program adhere to the HT Core Skills & Knowledge - 2014 document published by the Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association (CHTA). Courses are eligible for up to 2.0 points toward professional registration with the CHTA. Please visit the CHTA website for current information about voluntary professional registration.

All HT courses instructed by Ann abide by the CHTA's education and professional registration guidelines.

Where do students access funding to support their training in horticultural therapy?

Each year, several students indicate they have successfully accessed funding via the following sources:

  • professional development funds dispersed by the student's employer
  • job-training or skills upgrade funds available via an employee's union or trade association
  • federal and/or provincially managed job training funds
  • scholarships and awards from professional associations in related fields

How big are the classes?

Class size is limited to 10. Early application is advised to ensure placement, to provide time to explore the pre-reading list, and to complete written assignments.

Where can I find more information about therapeutic horticulture and horticultural therapy?

Start with the information and links provided on the Resources page. These will provide you with hours of exploration.

You are encouraged to follow the Horticultural Therapy Professional Development Program Facebook site, which tracks current research and articles of interest in TH and HT. This is a public Facebook site, anyone is welcome to follow it.

Is there a professional association for HT in Canada, or a local network group?

Nationally, the website of the Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association provides information about association membership, TH and HT education programs, and the CHTA's annual conference.

Locally, networking is informal.  On Vancouver Island, volunteers have maintained an affiliation with the BC Council of Gardens Clubs as a group called Gardens That Heal - Vancouver Island. You can follow posts about therapeutic gardens and horticulture on a province-wide Facebook site - Gardens That Heal or on our Instagram page at Gardens That Heal -VI

What about internships in horticultural therapy?

Horticultural Therapy internships, in several locations in Canada, are available to students who satisfy the Canadian Horticultural Therapy Association (CHTA) guidelines for education and training in horticultural therapy (HT).  An internship is 1000 hours and includes field work and written components. Membership in the CHTA is required.

Sites where Ann supervises HT internships require interns to complete a British Columbia Criminal Record check. During fall and winter months a flu shot may be mandatory. In most locations, HT interns serve as volunteers.

Placements for HT internships with Ann for 2022 and 2023 are fully subscribed. If you are a CHTA member seeking further information about internships, please look for current information on the CHTA website at www.chta.ca

How might I transition to a career in TH or HT?

As the option for diploma or degree training in TH and HT does not exist in Canada at this time, most students add continuing education courses in TH and HT to academic training and work experience in a horticulture or human service area, thereby acquiring a specific adjunct skill set. Students enrolling in the HT Certificate courses have backgrounds in such fields as horticulture, teaching, social work, occupational therapy, psychology, nursing, and recreational therapy.

Most students are planning to develop new programs in TH or HT in settings where they are already employed. Some, who already have small businesses and/ or good entrepreneurial skill sets, plan to develop and offer TH and HT programs as independent contractors. Various options for employment, and the benefits and challenges of each, are explored in The Practice of Horticultural Therapy course.

For further information about courses or for registration information, contact Ann at ann@catkingardens.ca.

Horticultural Therapy Certificate_2022-23_Vancouver Island.pdf