Posts tagged animal assisted therapy
Therapy Animals: We're More Than Just Good Looks & Charm!

Last week, I tackled the difference between service animals, emotional support animals, and therapy animals. This week, a quiz! Just kidding.

On a more serious note, do you know how many different types of therapy animals there are out there? Today, we take a step away from learning about canine assisted therapy to focus on some other species and the different benefits they bring. Sometimes they are “friendly visitors,” like the pioneers of social work in the 1800s, other times their work is more therapeutically structured. Either way, therapy animals are cute and often times cuddly, but they bring way more than just their good looks and charm!

There are a lot of great programs locally that work with therapy animals besides canines! Most recently in Harford County, The Center for Trauma, Stress and Anxiety starting an Equine Therapy Program. Equine therapy can assist with treating PTSD, anxiety and depression, along with attachment and other trauma related disorders. There are also many different kinds of Equine Assisted Therapies including therapies for mental health, occupational or physical therapies, and personal/professional development. I have had clients in the past who struggled to connect to talk, play or art therapies have great success working with horses, and I believe that this occurred because of the power of the human-animal bond.

If you know of any other species of therapy animals being used in Harford County, e-mail me so that I can highlight them!

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What is a “Therapy Animal” Anyway?

Have you ever heard of Sigmund Freud? Father of Psychoanalysis. Freud’s chow, Jofi (or Yofi), often sat through therapy sessions with him. Freud observed that Yofi helped reduce tension in the room and that patients, especially child and adolescent patients, would open up more. Jofi would sit closer to people he sensed were depressed, allowing comfort, and further away from those he sensed we anxious, allowing space. Jofi was also apparently a great time keeper, beginning to yawn and pace around fifty minutes into the session. Jofi was a therapy dog before the term 'therapy dog' even existed. What a pioneer! 

Over my next few blog posts, I will be breaking down the ins and outs of Animal Assisted Therapy to help my readers (and friends, colleagues and clients) get a better understanding of what Animal Assisted Therapy actually is, and how it helps others. This week, we start with understanding just what exactly a Therapy Animal is and the difference between service animals, emotional support animals and therapy animals. 

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