Piscatorial Therapy: Fishing Clinically Supported

Many recognize the activity of fishing to be relaxing, but few seem to have written about it from a clinical point of view: piscatorial therapy.

Dr. Scott E. Moser‘s 2001 article on “piscatorial therapy” (The Journal of Family Practice) is one exception. He reports “…that fishing is a tremendous anxiolytic. This is presumed to be because the activity integrates low-impact physical exercise (as long as you’re not catching marlin) with mental relaxation and social camaraderie.”

Elsewhere online are other testaments to the ability of fishing to aid in the treatment of such conditions as PTSD and generalized anxiety disorder.

Reportedly, in fact, two different mental hospitals in Scotland have employed fishing as a regular form of therapy. A spokesperson said that it “gives the patients a new skill, challenges them, and gives them a sense of personal achievement.”

On a tangential note, the recent and charming film Salmon Fishing in the Yemenwhich, let me be clear, is not about piscatorial therapy per se—just happens to pull some of the above-mentioned elements together. Scotland is involved, for example, as is the concept of fishing for relaxation.

Additionally, a main character routinely communes with fish as a way of finding aid for his troubled soul.

Dr. Jones (Ewan McGregor), socially awkward scientist: “When things get tricky in my life, I talk to my fish.”

Besides McGregor, actors Emily Blunt and Kristin Scott Thomas have major roles. A brief synopsis from IMDB: “A fisheries expert is approached by a consultant to help realize a sheik’s vision of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the desert and embarks on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible possible.”

Here’s the trailer:

Amy Biancolli, San Francisco Chronicle: “Makes use of pink-fleshed vertebrates as the inspiration for sweet romantic musings on love and life, faith and patience – and the courage to go against the flow.”

A couple of other fishing-focused films for those viewers who also like interesting family issues are A River Runs Through It (1992) and On Golden Pond (1981).

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