Exploring the Use of Therapeutic Horticulture to Enhance the Psychological Well-Being of Female Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

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This study explored the use of therapeutic horticulture to enhance the psychological well-being (PWB) of child survivors of sexual abuse using mainly a qualitative research strategy. Twenty-six female children, aged 7-17, participated in a 10-week therapeutic horticulture program. Written questionnaires were given at the middle and end of the program for them to describe their experiences of the program. Filipino translations of the Brief Inventory of Thriving (BIT) and the Flourishing Scale (FS) were also administered at the beginning and end of the program to quantitatively assess their overall PWB. Thematic analysis of qualitative data indicate that the participants found value in learning horticulture, cultivated positive social relationships and interactions, heightened their engagement with nature, and fostered positive psychological change. Results of paired t-tests of the BIT (t (25) = 4.17, p < 0.001) and the FS ( t (25) = 3.83, p < 0.001) indicate an increase in their PWB scores after the implementation of the program. The results suggest that therapeutic horticulture can enhance aspects of PWB among sexually abused children and has potential to be used as an adjunctive tool to aid in their recovery. Further research is needed to replicate these results and increase the internal validity of the study.