Addiction image
The use of Social and Therapeutic Horticulture (STH) within a person’s addiction recovery from substance misuse is relatively unexplored phenomena.

But PhD student, Andrew Mitchell, is hoping to change all that with his new research project which asks the question, ‘How do people make sense of Social and Therapeutic Horticulture as part of their addiction recovery?’

Former Thrive volunteer and addiction recovery therapist, Andrew Mitchell is a man on a mission. Not content with learning more about sustainability, composting and working on his allotment, he’s gained an MSc in STH in the field of occupational therapy from Coventry University and his studies are ongoing.

“As a STH practitioner I noticed that there are many people using collective gardening projects as part of their addiction recovery. People in addiction and recovery often face many challenges, not least social and self-stigmatisation and recovery is a very personal journey, a process of change if you like.”

Andrew believes that individuals in recovery often try to rebuild relationships, not only with others but also with themselves; “Recovery is much more than just a process of giving up any substance.

Moving away from the environment of substance misuse can often be distressing and create existential questioning.”

In recent years, researchers have become increasingly interested in interventions that engage individuals in meaningful experiences that can help them build upon their existing skills and resources to overcome barriers to recovery.

STH has shown to help many that are marginalised and stigmatised. This study aims to explore the lived experience of people who self-identify as being in addiction recovery and are regularly participating collective gardening.

Andrew Mitchell

"It consists of conducing semi structure interviews and brings together the theories of occupational science and addiction psychology. I hope that not only will we gain a deeper understanding of this client groups motivations and how they value gardening but also be able to help inform practitioners.”

Andrew is looking for six or seven more participants to build on his research. If you would like to take part please click here.

“As well as contributing to the STH knowledge base it is also hoped it will contribute wider towards destigmatising addiction and its recovery.”

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