On root/route : engaging nature as therapeutic partner through land praxis in residential child care contexts

Moore, Shannon A. and Duffin, Kimberly (2020) On root/route : engaging nature as therapeutic partner through land praxis in residential child care contexts. Scottish Journal of Residential Child Care, 19 (1). ISSN 1478-1840

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Connection to land as a resource for resiliency and well-being is supported by evidenced-based literature for individuals across the life span. This paper invites the reader to imagine residential child and youth care as having a central connection to experiential nature-based therapies across rural and urban settings. To begin, this paper contextualises the notion of Land Praxis theoretically before exploring the application of nature-based therapies in residential care contexts. Drawing upon transdisciplinary and posthuman discourses, an emphasis on organic non-linear connections will be brought forward to inform the application of various experiential therapies in natural environments. As Canadian scholars and practitioners, the authors position themselves within the discourses informing this project while emphasizing the practical application of theory to practice. This standpoint is further informed by the understanding that young people living in residential care often demonstrate elevated mental health, educational, behavioural and social challenges. These realities are confounded by the current global climate crisis, which few now deny, and the increased anxiety associated with planet survival uncertainty. This paper presents an argument that more than ever returning to land-based experiences may be an antidote for the anxiety felt by many young people seeking agency over their uncertain futures.

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