Animal-Assisted Therapy

Animal-Assisted Therapy is available to interested clients who are determined to be appropriate for this type of support. Peanut was a certified therapy bunny with Bunnies in Baskets, a non-profit dedicated to certifying therapy rabbits or “Visiting Rabbit Teams.” He is usually present for sessions.

dsc04670_37686789255_oPeanut was adopted from House Rabbit Network in May of 2016 and has been an important family member (& coworker) ever since. When he isn’t napping, he has a funny and sweet personality, and you might even catch him doing a “binky” (a bunny expression of happiness in dance form). But don’t forget his treat! 🙂

From Psychology Today:

“What Is Animal-Assisted Therapy?

Animal-assisted therapy is a therapeutic intervention that incorporates animals, such as horses, dogs, cats, pigs, and birds, into the treatment plan. It is used to enhance and complement the benefits of traditional therapy.

When It’s Used

Animal-assisted therapy can be a useful intervention for individuals or groups. A meta-analysis of 49 studies reporting on animal-assisted therapy found positive outcomes and overall improved emotional well-being in those with autism, medical conditions, or behavioral issues. Another review of randomized, controlled studies found that animal-assisted therapy can be helpful for those battling illnesses like depression, schizophrenia, or addiction. Anyone who dislikes or fears animals or is allergic to them, is not a likely candidate for this particular intervention.

What to Expect

Depending on the nature of your therapy and the type of animal involved, you may keep a dog, cat, or other pet at home and at your side throughout the day for emotional support, or you might learn to ride and care for a therapy horse that is housed at an equestrian school. You and your therapist may discuss your animal while you are working with it, or you may set aside another time to talk about your experiences. If you are in a hospital, school, nursing home, rehabilitation center, or another type of community center, you may not have a relationship with a psychotherapist, but a volunteer with a trained therapy pet might visit you.

How It Works

Animals can provide a sense of calm, comfort, or safety and divert attention away from a stressful situation and toward one that provides pleasure. Advocates of animal-assisted therapy say that developing a bond with an animal can help people develop a better sense of self-worth and trust, stabilize their emotions, and improve their communication, self-regulation, and socialization skills.”