Animal-Assisted Therapy in Vaughan & Barrie

We all know how much we love our pets, but there’s also significant evidence that animals can be instrumental in improving our mental health. Most of us are now familiar with service dogs who help people who are blind or who have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but there’s even more interesting data emerging.

We live in a world where our connection with nature has been disrupted. Some researchers are even calling this nature deficit disorder. Perhaps that’s why there’s such a massive increase in the pet retail industry. We intuitively know dogs force us to get outside and experience nature. Our canine friends also have knowledge of and respect for the laws of nature – something the climate crisis tells us we humans need some help with.

In these specialized sessions offered in the beautiful conservation areas of Vaughan and Barrie, you will learn how to understand when your dog is trying to bring you back to the physical world. You will learn how to communicate with your best friend in ways that regulate your nervous system. Many new evidence-based psychotherapies emphasize this type of regulation as key to improving symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance use disorder.

There are other benefits to this type of therapy because it is conducted outside in the peaceful and rejuvenating conservation areas of Vaughan, such as Boyd Conservation Area, and Barrie, like Shawnee Meadows. The benefits of ecotherapy are well known and include:

  • Decreased activity in the part of the brain connected to depression
  • Accelerated therapeutic change
  • Repairing a person’s relationship with the world after traumatic or stressful events (such events are now considered one of the greatest threats to public health)
  • Healing disrupted connections to the physical world, leading to better sleep and less stress
  • Decrease in addictive behaviours and substance abuse disorders
  • Increases in self-esteem
  • Increased ability to be mindful and slip more easily into meditative states

So, bring your best or worst-behaved pet to therapy! Carol McDowell, a registered psychotherapist and canine behavioural therapist, leads these innovative sessions in the tranquil natural settings of Vaughan and Barrie. Reconnect with nature and your furry companion on the path to improved well-being.

ecotherapy in vaughan and barrie

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