Special Issue "Therapeutic Environments—Existential Challenges and Healing Places"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Mental Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Kirsten Kaya Roessler
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Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, University of Southern Denmark, 5230 Odense M, Denmark
Interests: environmental psychology; health psychology; responding relationships; interventions; physical activity as treatment
Prof. Dr. Brady Wagoner
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Communication and Psychology, Aalborg University, 9220 Aalborg Ø, Denmark
Interests: cultural psychology; memory studies; social change; developmental processes; visual methods
Dr. Sofie Pedersen
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of People and Technology, Roskilde University, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark
Interests: ecological psychology; developmental dynamics; social-psychiatry; youth development; social work
Dr. Mads Bank
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Psychology, University of Southern Denmark, 5230 Odense M, Denmark
Interests: social work; counselling; drug-treatment,; medicine; general practice; affect

Special Issue Information

Dear colleagues,

Architecture and nature can support human health and well-being, as well as provide places for reflection and the creation of memories. In this way, environments are intimately entwined with our psychological processes. When people find themselves in difficult or challenging life situations, or are confronted with life changing events such as war, illness, or grief, they often start looking for places to help express and contain their emotions. One cultural way of dealing with existential challenges is physical movement, e.g. through pilgrimage or other forms of long-distance walks; another way is to seek out places of emotional or historical importance, such as memorials, churches or monasteries, or places designed for therapeutic, spiritual or physical transformation. Feeling secure and sheltered are crucial factors that support individual healing, transformation and well-being. People’s use of certain spaces in existentially challenging times is a common tendency, albeit often not integrated in our understanding of the processes of healing, psychological development, or transformation. This opens an array of questions concerning the meaning of spaces and places in relation to healing and health, along with questions of how spaces can be purposefully designed to support existential healing, and/or healthy and sustainable transformations on a psychological level.

The aim of this Special Issue is to identify environmental elements of importance when faced with existentially and culturally challenging life situations. We invite researchers from different fields (e.g., architects, psychology, health science, sociology) to explore the connection between culture, health and the surrounding environment.

Prof. Dr. Kirsten Kaya Roessler
Prof. Dr. Brady Wagoner
Dr. Sofie Pedersen
Dr. Mads Bank
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Healing environments
  • Public health
  • Existential challenges
  • Emotions
  • Space and place
  • Transformative processes

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Review

Review
Are Long-Distance Walks Therapeutic? A Systematic Scoping Review of the Conceptualization of Long-Distance Walking and Its Relation to Mental Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(15), 7741; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18157741 - 21 Jul 2021
Viewed by 259
Abstract
Long-distance walking is an ancient activity practiced across cultures for many reasons, including the improvement of one’s health. It has even been suggested that long-distance walking may be considered a form of psychotherapy. This scoping review examined the relationship between long-distance walking and [...] Read more.
Long-distance walking is an ancient activity practiced across cultures for many reasons, including the improvement of one’s health. It has even been suggested that long-distance walking may be considered a form of psychotherapy. This scoping review examined the relationship between long-distance walking and mental health among adults. Publication trends and definitions were also examined, and the reason why long-distance walking may have therapeutic effects was discussed. Systematic searches in three online databases were performed using a selection of long-distance walking terms. Both quantitative and qualitative studies were included if they examined associations between long-distance walking and mental health in an adult population. Mental health was conceptualized in broad terms, including descriptions of mental states as well as more specific measurements or notions of mental health. A total of 8557 records were screened and 26 studies were included, out of which 15 were quantitative, 9 were qualitative, and 2 were mixed. The findings showed that long-distance walking was positively related to mental health. This was most consistent with regard to emotional distress compared to somewhat inconsistent findings regarding well-being. Therefore, long-distance walking may be more appropriately used to counter some personal or emotional struggle rather than to achieve hedonic pleasure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Therapeutic Environments—Existential Challenges and Healing Places)
Review
Effectiveness of Horticultural Therapy in People with Schizophrenia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(3), 964; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18030964 - 22 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1316
Abstract
Horticultural therapy is increasingly being used in the non-pharmacological treatment of patients with schizophrenia, with previous studies demonstrating its therapeutic effects. The healing outcomes are positively correlated with the settings of the intervention. This review aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of horticultural therapy [...] Read more.
Horticultural therapy is increasingly being used in the non-pharmacological treatment of patients with schizophrenia, with previous studies demonstrating its therapeutic effects. The healing outcomes are positively correlated with the settings of the intervention. This review aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of horticultural therapy on the symptoms, rehabilitation outcomes, quality of life, and social functioning in people with schizophrenia, and the different effectiveness in hospital and non-hospital environments. This review followed the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Protocols (PRISMA) guidelines. We researched studies through PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Library, Science Direct, and the China National Knowledge Infrastructure. We included randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-experimental studies about horticultural therapy for people with schizophrenia, from January 2000 to December 2020, with a total of 23 studies involving 2024 people with schizophrenia included in this systematic review. This study provided evidence supporting the positive effect of horticultural therapy. This review demonstrated that non-hospital environments have a better therapeutic effect on all indicators than hospital environments. The results also demonstrated the effectiveness of horticultural therapy on symptoms, rehabilitation outcomes, quality of life, and social functioning in patients in hospital and non-hospital environments, providing further evidence-based support for landscape design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Therapeutic Environments—Existential Challenges and Healing Places)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Author: Kirsten Kaya Roessler

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Southern Denmark, 5230 Odense M, Denmark

Title: Smiling houses – a theoretical and bodily approach to architectural psychology

 

Author: Brady Wagoner

Affiliation: Department of Communication and Psychology, Aalborg University, 9220 Aalborg Ø, Denmark

Title: Reflecting absence through architecture – The 9/11 Ground Zero Memorial from the perspective of experience

 

Authors: Nielsen, E., Pedersen, S.

Affiliation: Department of People and Technology, Roskilde University, 4000 Roskilde, Denmark

Title: Enabling spaces; rethinking materiality and the invitational character of institutional environments

 

Author: Mads Bank

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Southern Denmark, 5230 Odense M, Denmark

Title: Spatial arrangements in social work: Making room for young drug users

 

Authors: Høegmark, S., Elmose Andersen, M., Grahn, P., Roessler, K.K.

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Southern Denmark, 5230 Odense M, Denmark

Title: A Nature-Based Rehabilitation Programme enhancing quality of life for men -results from a matched control study

 

Authors: Mau, M. Harnow, S. Nielsen, D. Skytte, I., Roessler, K.K.

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Southern Denmark, 5230 Odense M, Denmark

Title: Long distance walking - movement in nature focussing on frailty and vulnerability

 

Authors: Vollmer T.C., Koppen G. & Kohler K.

Affiliation: Architecture Faculty, Technische Universität München TUM,  Munich, Bayern, Germany

Title: Space perceptual changes in cancer patients and its impact on hospital architecture

 

Authors: Kühn, S. et al.

Title: The living Space: Psychological Well-Being and Mental Health in Response to Interior Architecture presented in Virtual Reality

 

Author: Birk, R.

Title: Idioms of Urban Life: How People reflect on Mental Health, Living in London, and Conditions of Precarity

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