About this Sacred Place
The Healing Garden at ASTT, which was one of 140 accredited torture survivor treatment centers worldwide, was firmly anchored in the area of holistic healing for a unique community of users. ASTT (now closed) served 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 was transformed through an expansive collaborative process. Before closing, it was 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 facilitated ASTT’s clients first step in moving from fear and isolation back into the outdoors.
Ashley G Kidner, International Landscaping & Design, landscape design