Animals Support Mental Health
There are so many benefits of having our companion animal, Vader, in your counseling session!
Child psychologist, Dr. Levinson, accidentally discovered that having his dog, Jingles, in the room during counseling encouraged clients to appear more relaxed. This paved the way for him to develop trust and rapport with his young clients as he began inviting Jingles into more sessions.Levinson first wrote professionally about the potential of using service dogs as psychotherapeutic co-therapists in 1962. Psychologists, social workers and counselors continue to utilize dogs in therapy, formally called Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT; Altschiller, 2011). Some of the peer-reviewed research suggests having an animal in counseling:
Reduces initial resistance associated with bengining therapy (Zilcha-Mano, S., Mikulineer, M., & Shaver, P., 2011)
Reduces overall stress experienced by the client (Perry, Rubinstein & Austin, 2012)
Decreases anxiety and sympathetic nervous system arousal (Freidmann, E., 1995)
Supports rapport building (Perry, Rubinstein & Austin, 2012)
Assists clients as they become more cognizant of emotional reactions (Perry, Rubinstein & Austin, 2012)
Decreases epinephrine (a hormone made when under stress) levels (Altman, L., 2005)
Supports resiliency in individual and group sessions (Perry, Rubinstein & Austin, 2012)
Great, Great Dane
Vader is young and still learning to support clients during counseling sessions. He is a Great Dane. We are so grateful to have him spend many days our the office. We are enjoying watching him learn and grow.
And, there is a lot of growing happening! Vader is almost 2 and approaching 200 pounds. He knows sit, down, wait, place, stay, come, kiss, place, go to couch, and more (if he isn't sleeping). He will be learning, and growing, much more.
For more information on the benefits of animals in therapy click here.