Horticultural therapy professionalism and educational programs development in Hong Kong and China

N.Y.F. Siu, B.S.K. Leung, C.Y.Y. Fung
The Hong Kong Association of Therapeutic Horticulture (HKATH) was established in 2008. The aim of HKATH is to facilitate the growth of therapeutic horticulture in terms of professionalism and popularity in Asia. By following the mainstream horticultural therapy (HT) model and integrating the local culture, HKATH hopes to improve the public health and well-being with HT. HKATH provides certification, training, internship and research opportunities which are following the blueprint of the registration system of the American Horticultural Therapy Association (AHTA). These programs are currently run by St. James' Settlement Continued Education Center and one of the programs is now accredited by the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications at level 2 of the qualification framework in Hong Kong. It definitely helps to gain the support and recognition of HT among social welfare organizations and service users in HK. On the road toward professionalism, HKATH has been providing comprehensive experiential training that incorporates theory and practice for horticultural therapists to be eligible for registration under HKATH. It is to ensure that the Registered Horticultural Therapists of HKATH are well-equipped to provide quality service for different target groups. These education and training programs are also conducted in China and Macau with the corresponding local institutes and universities. To further strengthen the recognition of horticultural therapy, HKATH plans to put more resources in academic research by co-operating with more organizations to verify the effectiveness of horticultural therapy. Evidence-based practice is important for professional development. HKATH strives to spread the healing power of plants to enhance social, psychological and physical health of the public. With the efforts of the colleagues and members of HKATH during past years, HT will certainly gain more popularity and recognition in Asia.
Siu, N.Y.F., Leung, B.S.K. and Fung, C.Y.Y. (2021). Horticultural therapy professionalism and educational programs development in Hong Kong and China. Acta Hortic. 1330, 245-252
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2021.1330.29
Hong Kong Association of Therapeutic Horticulture, accreditation, training, internship, research development

Acta Horticulturae