Animal Assisted Therapy
The benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy are widely documented. Animals provide a social and emotional support for the child, with assumptions that because the animal seems non-judgemental to the child, it is perceived as comforting, raises the child's self-esteem and makes it easier for the child to express themselves. Animal Assisted Therapy promotes social interaction, reduces anxiety, releasing stress, increasing morale, increased calmness, improves outlook, reduces fear and can reduce the need for medication.
Animal Assisted Therapy has been shown to help girls who have been victims of Child Sexual Exploitation. They are less likely to be anxious and therapist and child are able to form a greater sense of rapport more quickly as they feel more comfortable in a therapy setting.
Studies of the human-companion animal bond reveal many physiological and psychological benefits. “Petting a dog with which one is bonded to promotes relaxation, characterized by decreased blood pressure and increases in peripheral skin temperature.” Veldi and Fisher (2005) also stated “Motivation is increased with animal interaction. For example, persons who had refused therapy came to the therapy sessions when they knew animals were going to be present.
At Country Care we have 2 full time staff members training to become Animal Assisted Therapists and have a variety of animals available for use within session including dogs, horses and guinea pigs.