Toronto Metropolitan University
CHUI_Carmen_MSW_MRP_2018.pdf (718.56 kB)
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The Roots Of Practice: An Anti-Colonial Critical Discourse Analysis Of Western Nature-Based Mental Health Therapies

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posted on 2021-09-16, 20:00 authored by Carmen Chui
This study seeks to explore how nature-based therapies are understood in Western “mental health” practices. Specifically, horticultural and equine-assisted therapeutic models are examined for discursive themes tied to mind-body connections, attachment and healing. Additionally, texts used to teach specific therapeutic modalities are examined to further explore common concepts such as mindfulness and coping. In conducting a review of relevant literature, similar themes were revealed which contributed to a base knowledge for understanding the discourse around nature-based therapies. Engaging in an anti-colonial theoretical framework and a modified critical discourse analysis methodology, this qualitative study explores the research question: “What are the discourses which inform Western nature-based therapies?” Ultimately, this study aims to develop a more thorough understanding of how these therapies are linked to Indigenous approaches, how practices may be appropriated and used by Western practitioners, and the shift in social work towards more wholistic therapeutic practices.





  • Master of Social Work


  • Social Work

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • MRP

Thesis Advisor

Jennifer Poole