Karen has dedicated her life to understanding nature and animals and how we can live sustainably on this earth. 

After graduating in Environmental Science, she specialised with a Masters degree in nuclear physics and then a PhD proving how certain plants are able to naturally heal the damage to soil from man-made contamination and radiation.

She first came into close contact with Birds of Prey through their use for pest control on landfill sites.  She has been a respected falconer for more than 20 years, with most of her birds being given to her after being rescued from injury or owners who were not able to care for these wild creatures as she was.

But she also has another – parallel – life story. 

After persistent health problems as a child and a car accident in her 20s that left her with chronic pain, she has faced continual physical and mental health challenges and has had to adapt to chronic fatigue, adrenal failure, and severe allergies. With her scientific background, she learned in detail how conventional medicine treated these conditions, and experienced where it was not able to resolve her conditions long term. 

She turned to alternative approaches like reflexology, homeopathy and energy medicine and found they often helped.  Inspired to learn more holistic approaches and to help others, Karen qualified to practice Reiki, Seichem, Munay-ki and Plant Essences and has studied extensively how indigenous and ancient civilisations work with plants, animal and elements for healing.

The deep healing she experiences and brings to others comes from weaving all of these strands of her life experience and learning together.  The result is her own special therapy approach in Nature and 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, 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, show and 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 use, which allows us to receive Gift Aid, and where you can set up your own crowdfunding appeal to support our work.

Your donations will 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.