Landscape, care and the relational self: therapeutic encounters in rural England
Health & Place, 11, (4), . (doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2005.02.004).
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Over the last decade a number of studies have employed notions of therapeutic landscape to describe the ways in which places become implicated in processes of healing or health enhancement. While this work has usefully highlighted the environmental, social and symbolic dimensions of such places, relatively less consideration has been given to the relational dynamics through which these therapeutic effects emerge. In this paper I seek to address this absence through engagement with two related bodies of work: ecological formulations of place and relational notions of selfhood. These ideas are explored with reference to the experiences of guests at a respite care centre in Dorset, a predominantly rural county in southern England. Alongside its residential services, this centre places a strong emphasis on facilitating guests’ engagement with the wider natural environment in which it is set. A number of general analytical and methodological points are developed with regard to future therapeutic landscape research.
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