New ‘healing academy’ opens to address COVID anxiety

Local entrepreneur Laura Persichetti. Photo credit: Olivia Carli

Cathy Dobson

Laura Persichetti believes in adapting to the times.

So when the pandemic arrived the Sarnia entrepreneur closed her yoga studio and quickly designed a new business model more suited to physical distancing.

The new counselling service uses her background in psychotherapy and incorporates other tools, including yoga, to address the anxiety and separation COVID-19 has brought.

“People need support from a distance right now,” said Persichetti, a registered psychotherapist and certified life coach.

“We’ve all got so many challenges. We need to believe as a collective that we’re all going to get through this.

“It’s going to be OK,” she said.

Persichetti, 34, grew up in Sarnia, graduated from St. Christopher’s Secondary, earned a degree in dramatic education and community from the University of Windsor, and travelled extensively. She’s also a Reiki practitioner.

She came home to work various jobs at the Community Girls Home, St. Clair Child & Youth, and Rayjon Sharecare. For 15 years she’s worked with children, youth and families, using her knowledge of psychotherapy, metaphysics and personal development.

“I always knew I wanted to be an educator,” she said.

Six weeks ago, she opened the Royal Arts Healing Academy at 145 Christina St. North in the same space she operated the former Café Yoga.

The pandemic’s forced isolation has given us a chance to reduce some of the busyness in our lives, but it has also added uncertainty about the future, said Persichetti.

“People need to have a tool box to reduce their anxiety and stress,” she said. “At the Academy, we can work with you to see a different perspective.”

Clients of all ages can access her counselling services online or in person for one-on-one sessions.

Next week, starting Oct. 19, Royal Arts Healing Academy is launching a nine-week program called The Alternative, designed to help elementary school-age children.

Twice weekly group sessions provide a new outlet for stressed and under-socialized kids while respecting COVID-19 protocols, she said.

“It’s a great program for kids who struggle socially or who are needing connectivity in the community,” said Persichetti. “We will introduce tools to help them deal with their emotions.”

The Alternative offers after-school sessions for students in Grades 1 to 4 and Grades 5 to 8, and encourages self-expression through play, music and art.

Jenni Weiss, an expressive arts therapist, is assisting at the new program.

The cost is $25 to register, and $49 per two-hour session.

The Royal Arts Healing Academy incorporates elements from Cafe Yoga, such as meditation and advanced spiritual practices. Free consultations are available.

Details on individual programs can be found at www.royalartshealingacademy.com or by calling 519-312-8321.

Got a great idea for a business story?  Send it to cathy.dobson@thesarniajournal.ca.