Animal-assisted therapy in counseling helps to improve all areas of a patient’s life. Therapy animals can be used for a variety of different people and needs. There are several amazing benefits when someone takes part in animal-assisted therapy. Today we will talk about where the therapy can take place, what animals may be used as well as the factors and benefits one can receive from taking part.
Where Is Animal Assisted Therapy Used?
Animal therapy and animal-assisted social work can take place in a variety of different places. You may find this practice being used in settings such as prisons, nursing homes, mental health facilities as well as hospitals and schools.
Animal-assisted therapy is becoming more and more popular in drug treatment centers. Patients who are in these centers can benefit greatly from the animals. This therapy can make the withdrawal process a bit easier and can even produce serotonin, helping the patients with their mood.
People in drug addiction treatment facilities can have therapy with animals in a number of ways. One could simply just spend time with the animal by sitting and chatting with it. The therapeutic experience can also come from things like walking the animals, brushing and grooming them, as well as achieving a task with the animal.
Which Animals Can Be Therapy Animals?
Most of the time when someone thinks of a therapy animal they think of a dog. It may be surprising to learn that several different types of animals can be used in therapy. There is something called equine-assisted therapy that involves horses. Horses are known for being able to pick up on emotions, which can be very useful.
Animals such as dolphins, rabbits, guinea pigs, cats, and even pigs can be used as therapy animals. The type of animal can also change from person to person. While having a snake as a therapy animal can bring fear and anxiety to some, it may bring a sense of peace to others. This can be applied to more common animals as well. Some people are terrified of dogs while others consider them their best friend.
The specific breed of animal can play quite a role as well. Take Samoyeds for example. Having a Samoyed therapy dog is incredibly common. This is because they have an outgoing personality which makes them friendly. They’re also very beautiful dogs, which can be pleasing to people who the dog interacts with.
Main Benefits of Using Animal-Assisted Therapy
Below are some of the main benefits you may get from using animal-assisted therapy:
● It can improve motor skills
● Help people with balance
● Increase self-esteem and one’s purpose in life
● Reduce anxiety and depression
● Lowers blood pressure
● Decreases one’s risk of heart attack or stroke
● Increase trust and empathy
● Lowers suicidal ideation
● Help with problem-solving
● Reduce the chances of isolation
● Can give a sense of teamwork
● Reduce the need for medications
● Helps people accomplish tasks
● Can help someone give and receive love
● Improve social skills