The Healing Garden at ASTT, one of 140 accredited torture survivor treatment centers worldwide, is firmly anchored in the area of holistic healing for a unique community of users. ASTT serves torture survivors from more than 38 countries and cultures, helping victims find inner strength and nurturing a sense of hope through counseling and programs offered in a safe, home-like setting.
Torture survivors have seen the worst of humankind. On the most elemental level, they need support to learn how to be open again – first with themselves, then with each other, then with nature and, finally, with the world. Access to a safe and calming natural environment is an essential therapeutic tool for healing as overwhelming fears and insecurities prevent many clients from ever reaching full psychosocial adjustment.
The unassuming backyard space at ASTT has been transformed through an expansive collaborative process. It is now a therapeutic green resource shared not only with clients, staff, and multiple volunteers, but also with the surrounding community through day visits and use by ASTT’s large network of allied professionals and human service providers. The garden facilitates ASTT’s clients first step in moving from fear and isolation back into the outdoors. With nature’s healing touch, they have begun to meet and embrace their surrounding community.