Whatever happened to the soldiers? Nature-assisted therapies for veterans diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder: A literature review

  • Poulsen D
  • Stigsdotter U
  • Refshage A
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Abstract

Nature-assisted therapy (NAT) has become more common and recognized in both practice and research. The literature often describes how NAT gradually emerged in the UK and the US offering rehabilitation of soldiers suffering from traumatic experiences after active service in WW I and WW II. The main question of this review is to investigate what happened to this patient group? Consequently the aim is to systematically review: The literature; the evidence level; the health outcomes; and the transmissibility of the therapy programmes and results for practitioners. The review describes the development and status of practice and research concerning NAT for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).The systematic review included a seven-step literature search. Relevant data sources were scrutinized in order to retrieve literature meeting the predefined inclusion criteria. Due to the limited amount of peer-reviewed literature, non-peer-reviewed literature was also included in the review.The final selection yielded eleven peer reviewed and nine non-peer-reviewed publications. Three can be characterized as RCT studies, while the remainder is qualitative case studies. Eight themes emerged from the systematic analysis of the qualitative case studies. This review found that a large amount of projects offering NAT to veterans suffering from PTSD exist in many parts of the world and they present no adverse negative results.Recommendations for future practice and research are posed.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Evidence
  • Horticultural therapy
  • Intervention
  • Military veterans
  • Nature-assisted therapy
  • PTSD

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