Combining Traditional Room-Based 'Talking Therapies' With Equine, Canine & Nature Assisted Therapies for Positive, Long-Lasting Results.
Canine assisted therapy
The principles and science behind canine assisted psychotherapy are not dissimilar to our work with horses.
As mammals, dogs also share the same part of the brain as humans. The limbic system is responsible for our emotions, fight, flight, and freeze responses. Therefore, they offer emotional support through what is known as limbic resonance. This is the scientific term for when two mammals attune to one another through empathy, thus reaching a shared regulation of emotions.
Dogs also bring their own personality and character into the sessions offering space for reflection, companionship, and healing. Sometimes too, they bring laughter and joy, and offer an opportunity for building a relationship that encompasses your most vulnerable self. This encourages acceptance of self, and self-compassion to our most vulnerable parts.
Dogs are fantastic at offering non-verbal reflections of what is happening for us in the moment. They are highly-sensitively attuned to our emotional states, creating another platform for increasing self-awareness. Whilst doing so, they are able to gently interrupt moments of overwhelming emotion and bring your awareness back into the moment. This offers a space for new patterns of emotion regulation to develop, tools to utilise outside of sessions, and consequently to stop feeling saturated by the overwhelm emotions can sometimes bring.
Nature assisted therapy
The benefits of being in nature to physical health and psychological wellbeing have long been documented as positive ( e.g. Harper, Gabrielsen & Carpenter, 2018).
Within our fast paced society today, we have tended to move away from connection with ourselves and nature. The danger of this is that we stop experiencing the healing effect nature brings, and lose our connection to our ‘gut’ feelings within our body, thus becoming solely reliant on our cognitive processes. Cutting off from our bodies in order to cope with the fast paced life our society brings, leaves us more prone to conditions such as anxiety and depression. When these are present, it is also common to develop coping strategies with food, alcohol, drugs, work and so on.
Nature helps us to ground ourselves and reconnect with our true selves. It compliments a number of traditional psychotherapies, whilst also offering a space for healing and reflection.
Nature assisted therapy reduces anxiety, stress, and depression (Natural England, 2016)
Nature and Canine assisted therapies increase self-esteem and positive self-image (Richardson, Cormack, McRobert & Underhill, 2016)
Therapy with dogs creates oxytocin release (calming endorphins) (Psychology Today, 2015)
Nature and Canine assisted Therapy has shown to reduce cortisol (stress hormone) levels, which in turn has been shown to reduce physical pain (Allen, 2003)
“Dogs are wise. They crawl away into a quiet corner and lick their wounds and do not re-join the world until they are whole once more.”
– Agatha Christie