Animal Assisted Therapy

If you are too tired to speak, sit next to me, because I, too, am fluent in silence.
— R. Arnold

What is Animal Assisted Therapy?

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is the use of an animal in a counseling session.  There are many different counseling animals that can be used such as dogs, horses, cats, rabbits, llamas, pigs, and more. Sometimes the use of a therapy animal is part of an activity to help people obtain insight into aspects of their lives. Other times, therapy animals can be used to help comfort or ease anxiety through an uncomfortable or painful time.

How does Animal Assisted Therapy help?

Often times in therapy, a person is working on something that is painful to think about, much less talk about. Animal Assisted Counseling can help by letting those who are less verbal explore their problem without words. 

For some people, animals can be less threatening. People are able to project their problems or themselves onto the animal. Animals also react to people's body languages more so than humans. This allows for insight that a therapist or client might miss. It allows for immediacy of the situation. In other words, people are able to work on their problem in a safe place in the moment. 

What does Animal Assisted Therapy help with?

Animal assisted interventions have been shown to aid with several mental health issues. There is research that demonstrates that it decreases depression and anxiety, helps with acceptance and understanding of big transitions in life (i.e. divorce, adoption), increases self esteem, deepens the understanding in communication, and understanding of trauma. These are just a few. There are several other areas that animal assisted therapy can help with:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Grief & Loss
  • Self Esteem
  • Transitions
  • Communication
  • Relationship Issues
  • Power and Control
  • & more

What does Animal Assisted Therapy look like?

For some, using animals in therapy can be as simple as a dog or cat in an office. Other types of therapy animals can include farm animals, which may involve you going to a location outside the traditional therapy office. For example, going to a farm and working with horses. This is an experiential therapy that can help deepen a client's understanding of a situation, emotion, or problem. Davidson Family Therapy is in partnership with Willow Equine and practices the EAGALA model. 

Why choose Animal Assisted Therapy?

Animals have brought humans comfort and joy throughout history. Pets are often thought of as family members instead of just animals. This is a therapy that can be beneficial for those people who have struggled in therapy before, have a difficult time verbalizing, or are looking to try a new type of therapy. It is more than just talk therapy, it is a powerful experience.

Davidson Family Therapy Is Proud To Offer Animal Assisted Therapy in Davidson, NC!

Animal assisted interventions are one of the many creative forms of therapy offered by our innovative therapists. For more information or to schedule an appointment click here.