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Encountering Place: A Psychoanalytic approach for understanding how therapeutic landscapes benefit health and well being

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Health and Place
Issue number6
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)1381-1387
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper applies new thinking in psychoanalytic theory to demonstrate how certain therapeutic landscapes work to enhance health and wellbeing. Over the past two decades health geographers have extended the concept of therapeutic landscapes to analyse place and health as it applies to diverse locations embodying therapeutic qualities for different groups of people. Various approaches to how the process works have been psychoanalytic and psychotherapeutic theories. The concept of ‘mentalising’ as applied to therapeutic landscapes is offered by this paper as a further, hopefully enriching contribution to this line of enquiry. It examines the significance of prior familiarity with representations of specific landscapes, what the actual landscape offers to imaginative or projective reconstructions, the importance of cultural resources enabling landscape to be apprehended metaphorically, and the contribution of landscapes seen in this way to therapeutic effects. Therapeutic landscapes are shown to improve individual self-understanding and to enhance the capacity to empathise with others.