Shy Wolf Sanctuary Healing Hearts Program Offers Pet Therapy to Residents in DLC Crossroads

Shy Wolf Sanctuary Healing Hearts Program Offers Pet Therapy to Residents in DLC Crossroads

Naples, Fl – David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC), Collier County’s only comprehensive, not-for-profit behavioral health provider serving children, adults and families, has partnered with Shy Wolf Sanctuary to bring the healing benefits of animal-assisted therapy to adult residents in the Crossroads addiction recovery program.

DLC’s Crossroads program includes a full continuum of substance use services including inpatient detoxification, residential rehabilitation, intensive outpatient treatment, as well as Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT). Adults residing in the 18-bed residential program spend an average of three to four weeks in the program and participate in a variety of holistic programs, such as fitness and wellness classes, art therapy, onsite and offsite pet therapy programs, meditation, and aromatherapy. Many of these holistic programs are provided in collaboration with community partners and volunteers.

Through the Shy Wolf Sanctuary Healing Hearts program, residents took a break from the traditional group and individual therapy provided onsite at Crossroads and visited the Shy Wolf Sanctuary Education & Experience Center in East Naples to spend time with animals, which include numerous wolves and wolfdogs.

“During their time at Shy Wolf, the Crossroads clients were educated about our animals and how their past experiences may be similar to the animal’s experiences,” said Shy Wolf Sanctuary Community Education Coordinator Debbie LoVerde. “We talked about the emotions we share with animals, such as fear, joy, and/or sadness, and how those experiences shape who we are and how we perceive the world.”

DLC Crossroads Clinical Supervisor Erin Lyristakis, LCSW, said the Shy Wolf visit provided a tranquil environment for Crossroads clients. “They were able to be in the presence of these beautiful animals in nature and learn healthy coping strategies,” said Lyristakis. “The experience helped improve anxiety and emotion expression while stimulating pleasure receptors in the brain. It gave us an opportunity to talk about healthy relationships, developing trust, establishing boundaries, and gaining self-esteem.”

Participants also enjoyed an art project, light lunch, and received parting gifts of a T-shirt, journal, and wolf necklace.

Craig, a Crossroads resident, shared his positive experiences with the wolfdogs and how it eased his anxiety and constant worrying. “Being sober with the animals and the amazing staff at Shy Wolf was very refreshing,” said Craig. “My anxiety and stress level went down and my head was clear. I was able to catch my breath and forget I was in treatment. I was able to let go of fear and, for the first time in a long time, I felt like everything is going to be okay.”

About Shy Wolf Sanctuary

Shy Wolf Sanctuary is a non-profit animal refuge. Shy Wolf Sanctuary is one of the few places permitted to care for the threatened Florida Gopher Tortoise. Shy Wolf has been offering educational programs and therapeutic animal encounters for more than 20 years. Educational programs range from peacefully co-existing with wildlife to advocating for the animals that can’t speak for themselves. Additionally, Shy Wolf partners with area nonprofit organizations to provide hope and healing to at-risk individuals through the Healing Hearts program.

About David Lawrence Centers

Southwest Florida nonprofit David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health (DLC) is a national leader providing compassionate, advanced, and exceptional mental health, substance use, and integrated healthcare solutions, available for children, adolescents and adults. DLC’s innovative treatment includes inpatient, outpatient, residential, and community-based services – a comprehensive system of care funded by community and government support. Each year, DLC serves more than 9,000 people through over 290,000 treatment sessions. To learn more, please call 239-455-8500.

Jun 14, 2021 | News & Events, Press Releases

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