Natasha Lumley

BSc, Adv Dip Couns.
MBACP ​Accredited Counsellor
07792 090 627

Experienced, empathic and professional counselling for individuals or couples, in the beautiful East Sussex countryside. Only 15 minutes from Tunbridge Wells, with easy parking in a peaceful setting, or in my Wadhurst clinic, with evening availability.
Animal Assisted and Outdoor Therapy

We have all, no-doubt, had times when we have gained great comfort from the animals around us. Animals live very much in the moment, not worrying about the future or being driven by events of the past. Spending time with animals can enable us to do the same, helping us to be more mindful and live each day more fully.

SImply having an animal with us, to stroke and hold, when we are experiencing strong emotions, gives comfort and reassurance. Studies have shown that contact with animals can help blood pressure to lower, pulse rate to decrease and that feel-good hormones such are released (Allen, Blascovich et al, 1991, 2002). This all helps us to feel relaxed, calm and generally more positive.

Animal Assisted Therapy can work on different levels. For some, it may just be the calming presence of an animal in the counselling room, or on their lap. For others it may involve a more interactive time with an animal, such as grooming a horse, or walking a dog, whilst working with their therapist. 

Please note that Animal Assisted Counselling is not the same as Pets as Therapy, where animals visit schools or care homes, for example. This in itself can be incredibly therapeutic, but does not involve counselling. What I offer, is counselling with the addition of animal(s) to add to the process, if desired. Animal Assisted Counselling should only ever be carried out with a fully qualified, registered counsellor.

"Animals played such a prominent role in human evolution that they have now become integral to our psychological well-being." Levinson, 1972
"The unconditional love and devotion that an animal will bring to a therapeutic practice will be an asset that may never be thoroughly understood but should be appreciated and harnessed." Aubrey Fine 2010

Outdoor therapy simply means taking the therapy out into nature. We can sit outside and admire the view during your counselling session, or sit with the chickens and observe their funny ways as we talk. We can go further out into the countryside, which is accessible from the doorstep, and simply walk while we talk. 

There is no difference in the fee for the session, whether it is inside or out, with an animal or just the two of us, so during your first session, we can make a plan, based on what you want to gain from your therapy, and how you would like it to be set up. The beauty of working in this way is that it gives us great flexibility to find a way of working together which gives you the maximum benefit and feels most comfortable for you. 

"Exploring nature we are brought directly into contact with the most fundamental aspects of life, the joy of growth and regeneration, the omnipresence of death and decay. We see our lives in the context of a web of processes of which we are a tiny, and often problematic, part. We feel the  impact of these facts upon us and we are affected by them. We are changed...It is hard to remain withdrawn from life for long whilst meeting with nature."
Acorns Among the Grass - Adventures in Eco-Therapy  Caroline Brazier