Therapy animals are increasingly being used to assist adults and children with a wide range of emotional and psychological disorders including depression, recovery from trauma, anxiety and neuroses.
The presence of an animal in the therapy room can make sessions more pleasurable and productive, and improve therapeutic outcomes. Clients experience calming effects, brightening of mood, increased self-esteem, stress reduction and increased motivation.
Child-animal interactions can also provide the following benefits:
- Promote development of empathy
- Help withdrawn children to interact and open up
- Help children to develop a rapport with the counsellor
- Non-judgemental acceptance of child offered by animal
- Improved socialisation skills
- Non-threatening physical contact, touch
- Physiological benefits – increased ability to relax,
- Decreased heart rate and blood pressure
Her young clients are offered the opportunity to have Tilly, a chocolate Labrador, present in their sessions if they wish. She has been thoroughly trained, and assessed by the organisation ‘Pets as Therapy’, and Frances is fully insured to use Tilly in her counselling work.