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The Benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy

Animal assisted therapy can be a powerful tool in helping clients attain their counseling goals. Here are a few of the benefits of this treatment:

1. Having my dog in session often increases the comfort level of clients. This is especially helpful during the early stages of counseling with children who have a difficult time talking about their feelings.

2. It can help children with behavioral problems focus on a positive activity. This includes bonding with the dog, treating it with kindness and respect, and learning behavior modification principles by rewarding the dog for following directions (i.e. doing “tricks”).

3. Interacting with a dog can reduce feelings of anxiety, and provide motivation for clients to attend therapy, who may be otherwise ambivalent about the process.

If you are interested in learning more about animal assisted therapy, contact Michelle Oczki.

Article by: Michelle Oczki, M.S., LIMHP

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