Karen is a teacher and practitioner of nature connection. 

She is also a scientist and falconer.  It was her love and commitment to nature that brought her to studying Environmental Science.  Her fascination with how nature works at the cellular level took her studies to the next level, to a Masters degree in nuclear physics and then her PhD that showed how certain plants are able to heal the damage to soil from man-made contamination and radiation. 

Knowing that nature holds answers to many man-made problems on this earth, she started to work with Birds of Prey  as a chemical-free way to manage pest control on landfill sites.  She has been a respected falconer for more than 20 years, with most of her birds brought to her after being rescued from injury or owners who were not able to care for them. 

She also though, has suffered throughout her health from certain health conditions.  A car accident in her 20’s left her with chronic pain, fatigue, and adrenal problems.  Her science training helped her understand how conventional medicine treated these conditions, but she also experienced first hand where it was not able to resolve her conditions long term. 

Alternative approaches like reflexology, homeopathy and energy medicine were more helpful for her conditions.  As she learned more about these methods dating back hundreds of years, she realised that there were parallels to her scientific work. 

Inspired to help others, Karen qualified to practice Reiki, Seichem, Munay-ki and Plant Essences. She has studied extensively how indigenous and ancient civilisations work with plants, animal and elements for healing.

The deep healing she continues to use for herself and her clients has evolved into her distinctive  approach in Nature-Assisted Therapy and Animal-Assisted Therapy with her Birds of Prey.

Dr Karen Stead-Dexter also teaches, mentors, and does regular public speaking to share her unique combination of scientific knowledge, her profound connection with nature and animals, and the skills to integrate them with healing practices. 

She founded the Centre in 2022 to be able to teach and bring the benefits of Animal and Nature Assisted Therapy to more people in need.


The Centre for Animal and Nature Assisted Therapy, CANAT, is a Community Interest Company (CIC) where all profits are reinvested towards our mission to bring relief and resolution to those struggling with their mental health.

Therapy is available to individual clients and courses and therapy can be designed for groups.  As a CIC we raise funds to pay for clients who have found that the NHS is not able to meet their needs but who need therapy urgently and can’t afford it themselves.

We welcome all donations, however small, to help us to reach those who are suffering chronic mental illness. Your financial support is not only appreciated, but truly life-changing.

If you would like to discuss a donation or fundraise for us, please get in touch using our Contact page.  Thank you for reaching out to us.

Our Practitioners

Charlie Barrett - Animal Nature Therapy PractitionerCharlie Barrett

Charlie is a BACP registered counsellor and LEAP certified Equine-Assisted Psychotherapist.

The outdoor environment and her love of horses are central to her offering a whole mind and body way for clients to learn about themselves and make changes. She helps adults and young people (age 11+) with stress, depression, anxiety, low confidence, bereavement and major life transitions.

She works in the Lyme Regis & Axminster area in South West England.

Emma Pritchard Nature Therapy

Emma Pritchard

Emma is a BACP accredited counsellor in Advanced Integrative Counselling, specialising in bereavement and loss. 

She has worked solely in outdoor spaces since 2018, mainly in woodlands. She has a psychology degree and weaves shinrin yoku (forest bathing) interventions into integrative counselling serving young people, adults, families and couples.

She works in the Dorchester area in South West England.