Dove-Assisted Therapy

“You have no idea what happened inside me when I let that bird fly for her…”

Mastering Resilience

With memorial dove-centered rituals I often teach a grieving family member to hold and release a single white dove. It is beautiful and can be spiritually symbolic, but the other, powerful element is the therapeutic, cathartic and healing role that it plays. Very often it is very difficult for the holder to make that simple gesture to let go, but it is even more powerful when it comes.

The most powerful releases I have done have been at times where emotions are complex and mixed. Around the doves, even people with strong feelings of anger, hostility, regret, and guilt are able to begin to soften. As with many animal-assisted therapies, these birds can smooth and guide movement towards healing and strength. They respond positively to self-calming by the holder. These white homing pigeons are universally and historically associated with love, with freedom, faith, hope and home. This is a powerful, non-verbal teacher.

Dove-assisted therapy releases are a tool that you can draw on to support your clients, add to your toolbox. Some of the clearest beneficiaries are those who are grieving a loss. I work each year with the SHARE organization around perinatal loss.  A dove gives parents a physical being upon which to focus, then let go, and remember.  I share white flight feathers often in memorial.  Consider also those who are in transition — separating families, the giving and receiving of an adoption, children adrift, teens in difficulty. Feeling the heartbeat of a living being in your palms is centering and healing. These releases are cathartic, they honor, they bring beauty in a moment and a symbol for each to remember and use in times of difficulty.

At the end of each of my retreats and workshops my people are ready for a release, ready to let go of what no longer serves them. For anyone in transition, coming through or on the verge of a breakthrough, or coming to the end of a difficult period, the usefulness is clear and the results can be magical. A release can also be powerful as an element of bonding. For a family in therapy, a group release is a beautiful experience and communal memory.  It can serve as well as an element of bonding between you and your client.

Working with you from any location in the Gallatin Valley, I craft a simple, powerful and universal moment, personal to each patient and practitioner.  Bring an entirely new, beautiful, and powerful element to how you make a difference.

You are warmly invited to schedule a loft visit or an on-site hand release for yourself or your staff to personally experience the doves.

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Remembering that it is possible to heal even something that has not yet happened…

Lorca and her Slovakian husband Dusan Smetana have brought the practice of keeping and racing homing pigeons out of its European traditions and adapted them to the mountains of Montana and into the healing modality. Like equines and other animals more commonly used in animal-assisted therapy, doves mirror an emotional state back to the holder and can be useful in furthering self-modulation and building self-confidence. This healing practice is magnified by the almost magical experience of holding a living bird in your hands, feeling its feathers and its heartbeat, and opening your fingers to allow it to fly into the sky and disappear to return to its home loft. It is a powerful, nonverbal experience with symbolic resonance for people who are moving through change, evaluating that which no longer serves them, and what they are ready to let go to create a fresh, amazing normal life.