Are you a self-proclaimed animal lover? Have you found comfort in the joy and love you share with your pets? You are in great company! It is one of the reasons animal-assisted therapies have had such great results!
Few things comfort us the way animals do. Whether it is from pets we share our lives with or the latest YouTube kitten video, animals have a natural way of bringing us peacefulness and joy much more readily. Well, therapy is no different!
A natural tendency for humans and pets to form a relationship with one another often contributes to quick connections and empathy between a client and therapy animal. Certain animals such as dogs are better suited for interactions with humans because they can more easily feel a deep sense of social connectedness beyond different species. Based on this, we can have meaningful and long lasting attachments with them – and them to us. This advanced social acuity enables them to not only be companionate but to also provide us with social support. Their loving connection allows us to explore things that were difficult for us, whether it’s tough thoughts and emotions or new coping skills we haven’t quite gotten the hang of yet.
Animal-based therapy approaches can help better handle things such as isolation, anxiety, sense of security/safety, depression, and mistrust. Most importantly, people going through a hard time can feel reconnected with themselves and the world through the cute cuddles, love, and fun of interacting with therapy animals. Animals can help provide relief and building of more adaptive coping strategies.
Either way, we benefit from their presence in therapy in a number of ways that extends beyond the session.
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