westley design | inclusive landscape architecture

Magharalone Healing Garden

Sensory Attachment Intervention therapy garden

The challenge

Eadaion Brannach, an inspirational Consultant Occupational Therapist and Attachment Counsellor has developed clinical specialism in Sensory Integration and Attachment Classification. Her work involves analysing the individual’s capacity to maintain an appropriate arousal state when engaged with others. Sensory Integration Theory deals with understanding of how we process sensations and how we can use sensory experiences to regulate our emotional states and behaviour. Attachment Classification gives us an understanding of the nature of parent child relationships and how this impacts on; one’s ability to regulate arousal states, the capacity to learn, and the capacity to engage in healthy attachment relationships with partners and children. Eadaion has integrated these two approaches and developed her own treatment approach called “Sensory Attachment Intervention” (SAI). It combines the use of sensory regulating techniques, parent/carer management strategies, and provision of therapeutic space (indoor and outdoor). From her own practice Eadaion was able to observe how much benefit was gained when working with clients in garden settings rather than inside buildings.

What we did

Mike Westley worked with her to develop a landscape setting for her own treatment centre that would provide a series of specific sensory and spatial settings. The therapist might then develop client specific sets of activities based on combinations of different experiences obtained from the landscape settings. Westley Design later used the principles developed in their collaboration to deliver a program of training for children’s services providers commissioned by the Cork Health Authority.

The result

This proposal formed the basis for a separate set of training sessions delivered to a private service provider for the Cork Health Authority. The proposal for the garden never went ahead due to the sale of the treatment centre; however Eadaion continues her unique practice as a consultant and Westley Design remain committed to the principles developed during this project.

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