The Garden of Hope: Horticultural Therapy with Traumatized Children

Principal Investigator: Harolyn Belcher

The Garden of Hope: Horticultural Therapy with Traumatized Children (HTTC) study will evaluate the effectiveness of horticultural therapy as an adjunct therapy to standard mental health treatment for traumatized children, ages 6-17 years, at the Kennedy Krieger Family Center (KKFC) using data from an IRB-approved research database.

HTTC involves one 30-60 minute session per week of planting seeds in a garden and tending the new plant growth. Children participate in HTTC as an adjunct to standard mental health treatment. A matched HTTC intervention-control design will used to evaluate HTTC. Children will be matched by age (+/- 6 months), gender, race/ethnicity, and length of treatment (+/- 6 months) by the Kennedy Krieger Family Center (KKFC) IS Manager. During their clinical treatment children in the HTCC group and in the matched group (KKFC IS Manager will notify clinician of the match child) will be evaluated using the following instruments: the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), a standard instrument used by the KKFC and a newly implemented instrument for all KKFC patients, the Culture Free Self-Esteem Inventories, third edition (CFSEI-3). Evaluations will be obtained within two months before beginning HTTC (baseline), six months, and nine months. If a child is discharged before the six or nine-month evaluation, they will receive an evaluation at discharge. Following the participation of 200 children de-identified data, provided by the KKFC IS Manager, will be obtained for analysis by the investigators.