Jean Larson, PhD, HTR, CTRS

Graduate Faculty, Nature-Based Therapeutics Faculty Lead
Jean Larson



Graduate Faculty, Nature-Based Therapeutics Faculty Lead, Center for Spirituality and Healing (CSH)


PhD, Therapeutic Recreation emphasis in therapeutic horticulture with minor in Integrative Medicine

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Dr. Jean Larson began her work for the University of Minnesota in 1992, where she developed the Nature-Based Therapeutic Services (NBT) a partnership between the Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. NBT provides a range of services including direct programming, training, education, research and outreach in the fields of therapeutic horticulture, animal-assisted interventions, facilitated green exercise, and therapeutic landscapes. The partnership provides opportunities to better understand and ensure students, professionals and general public will have access to the most current research and practices. The unique partnership recognizes the strengths and expertise to make the best use of resources from both integrative medicine and nature-based science.

Jean has a Ph.D. in Education (emphasis in therapeutic recreation) with a minor in integrative medicine from the University of MN. Jean teaches eight graduate courses: Introduction to Therapeutic Horticulture, Introduction to Therapeutic Landscape Design, Nature Rx, Animals in Healthcare, Introduction to Nature-Based Therapeutics, Forest Bathing, Walking into Wellbeing, and Horse as Teacher: Equine Facilitated Education and Psychotherapy. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, a Registered Horticultural Therapist, Registered Mental Health Advocate and has a certificate in Disability Services and Administration, with a specialization in serving people with neurodivergent and developmental disabilities, from the Institute of Community Integration.

Jean's work has taken her around the world - from Japan, England, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Taiwan, to Israel. When not working for the University, Jean is at home enjoying her family farm north of the Twin Cities along with her husband, dogs, cats, goats, chickens and horses or unplugged at their little cabin along the North Shore.


Research Summary/Interests

  • Nature-Based Therapies
  • Healing Environments – Therapeutic Landscape Design
  • Therapeutic Horticulture
  • Animal Assisted Interactions
  • Care Farms