Horticultural therapy professionalism and professional certification: an experience from Hong Kong
Since Hong Kong Association of Therapeutic Horticulture (HKATH) was established in 2008, horticultural therapy (HT) in Hong Kong has been moving toward professionalism. HKATH was established with the mission to promote horticultural therapy in Hong Kong, aiming to improve people's health and well-being. It has been following the mainstream HT model while integrating the local culture, upholding four elements of professionalism: certification, training, internship and research. Following the blueprint of the registration system of American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA), HKATH provides certification, training and internship. Every professional registered horticultural therapist (RHT) is required to gain over 500 h of theory studying and internship. The comprehensive training incorporating theory and practice is to ensure that the trainees are well-equipped before taking up a professional role to provide quality service for different target groups. Moreover, evidence-based practice is an important element for professional development. HKATH has been putting resources on conducting academic research on the applications of horticultural therapy on various target groups. We have been conducting six academic research in collaboration with the School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and several social service agencies since 2010. Four of the research have been published in international journals including Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, Journal of the American Medical Directors Association (JAMDA), Nursing Open and Journal of Therapeutic Horticulture during 2017-2020. With the effort of the colleagues and members of HKATH in the past few years, HT is gaining higher popularity and recognition in Hong Kong.
Fung, C.Y.Y. and Siu, N.Y.F. (2021). Horticultural therapy professionalism and professional certification: an experience from Hong Kong. Acta Hortic. 1313, 33-40
horticultural therapy, professionalism, certification, training, internship, research and publication