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The Healing Powers of Animals

The Healing Powers of Animals

By: Claudia Griffo, BS, MSW

In the journey of healing from eating disorders, individuals often seek a variety of therapeutic approaches to find solace and strength.  One such remarkable and often underestimated source of support comes in the form of our four-legged friends.  The therapeutic powers of animals have been increasingly recognized and embraced in various fields, including mental health.  Animals, especially our beloved pets and companions, can have a profound impact on individuals struggling with their mental health, including an eating disorder.

Unconditional Love and Acceptance

One of the fundamental aspects of the therapeutic relationship between humans and animals lies in the unconditional love and acceptance they provide.  Animals, whether dogs, cats, or even smaller pets like rabbits or guinea pigs, offer a non-judgmental companionship that can be immensely reassuring for individuals struggling with body image issues and self-esteem.

Living with an eating disorder often involves navigating high levels of anxiety and stress.  The calming presence of animals has been shown to reduce stress hormones and promote a sense of well-being.  Spending time with a gentle and affectionate pet can create a soothing environment that helps alleviate the emotional turmoil that individuals with eating disorders may experience. 

Eating disorders can often disrupt daily routines, or rather, completely take over our schedules.  This can make it difficult to have a feeling of stability.  Pets thrive and require on routine and caring for them necessitates a structured schedule.  This can be beneficial for someone in recovery, providing a sense of purpose and responsibility.  This allows individuals to break free from a cycle they feel stuck in, and the predictability of a pet’s needs can help individuals regain control over their own lives.

Mending Isolation with Companionship

Struggling with an eating disorder can feel very isolating.  Isolation is a common challenge for those with eating disorders, and it is normal to want to withdraw from social interactions.  Animals can mend the isolation by providing companionship.  Animals can also act as a bridge to human connection.  It can be through meeting other pet owners during walks or attending pet-related events, the shared love for animals creates opportunities for socialization, fostering a sense of community and support.

Animals are masters of living in the moment, a concept central to mindfulness practices.  Interacting with pets encourages individuals to be present, focusing on the here and now.  This mindfulness can be a powerful tool in overcoming the negative thought patterns associated with eating disorders, and with shutting out that incessant “voice”.

In the multifaceted journey of eating disorder recovery, the therapeutic powers of animals shine as a beacon of hope and support.  As diverse avenues for mental health treatment continue to be explored, let us not underestimate the profound impact our furry friends can have in fostering resilience, self-acceptance, and ultimately a brighter tomorrow.  An animal’s ability to love and accept unconditionally can reinforce the idea of loving ourselves unconditionally.

Other Mental Health Services Offered in PA, NJ, DE, SC, and FL

We offer a wide variety of services related to eating disorder recovery including trauma therapy!  We offer Weekly Support Groups, Nutrition Services,  and Family and Parent Therapy as well as Coaching, all tailored to meet the specific needs of the individual. We offer our services for Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating, and Orthorexia online in New Jersey, Delaware, South Carolina, and Florida! We are here to offer our support and understanding in a safe and non-judgmental environment.

We have immediate openings right now for eating disorder therapy in:

Delaware, New Jersey, Florida, South Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

And recovery coaching worldwide.

Recovered and Restored is an eating disorder therapy center founded by Gabrielle Morreale. We specialize in helping teens and young women heal from eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, orthorexia, and binge eating disorder and treat disordered eating, anxiety, depression, and PTSD. We provide eating disorder therapy in the towns of Horsham, Upper Gwynedd, Lower Gwynedd, North Wales, Lansdale, Hatfield, Blue Bell, Doylestown, and nearby towns with eating disorder therapy. Also providing virtual eating disorder therapy in New Jersey, Delaware, and Florida. Some towns served virtually but are not limited to Pittsburg, Lancaster, Harrisburg, Center City, Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Mount Laurel, Cape May, Avalon, Brick, Dover, New Castle, Bethany Beach, Marydel, and Oceanview


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