More‐than‐therapeutic landscapes

Phil Emmerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
157 Downloads (Pure)


Building on geography's ongoing interest in therapeutic landscapes (and assemblages), this article contributes a further dimension to thinking about the spaces and places of health and care. Whilst recognising the value of focusing on the variegated ways in which “improvements” in health, wellness, and well‐being take shape, it suggests there is also something to be gained by addressing these spaces through de‐centring “the therapeutic,” and instead adopting a more‐than‐therapeutic approach in which the question of “what‐else happens?” is brought to the fore. Drawing on eight months of ethnographic research within care homes in the UK, it notes that within these spaces many activities and forms of relation can emerge that are not necessarily focused on the maintenance or improvement of health or well‐being. In particular the paper highlights: everyday homemaking by residents, friendships and rivalries between staff members, and major political events as exemplars of ordinary life within care homes that occur beyond “therapy” in its conventional sense. That said, it also notes that the therapeutic and more‐than‐therapeutic are relational, and as such, the paper's conclusion is that a more‐than‐therapeutic approach to landscapes of care can augment existing approaches through encouraging a more holistic attunement to their workings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-602
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Early online date2 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • assemblages
  • Birmingham UK
  • ethnography
  • everyday life
  • nursing care homes
  • therapeutic landscapes


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