Having worked for an assistance dog charity for 19 years I have experienced the many benefits a dog can bring, very often enriching the lives of those around them. Dogs can offer not only companionship, but other endless therapeutic benefits. Evidence shows that children and adults, with emotional, social, learning or behavioural difficulties can benefit from the presence and interaction with dogs. Dogs have the ability to listen attentively without judgement or disclsoure, whilst at the same time demonstrating their love and loyalty.
Therapy dog Fudge is available for Animal Assisted Intervention sessions, the content of these sessions will very much depend on the needs of the individual and will be tailored to suit their needs. It maybe that interactions with Fudge during a session are spontaneous, activities carried out in this way can be referred to as Animal Assisted Activities (AAA) and can generally enhance wellbeing. At other times it maybe that the focus is on something more specific, meaning the therapy session is goal directed. This is generally referred to as Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT). This is a service that focuses on wellbeing and therapeutic outcomes and it can be complementary to or independent of counselling. It is a service that is open to both children (aged 5 and over) and adults of varying needs.
An example of some of the ways in which Animal Assisted Interventions/Therapy can help:
- Self esteem – caring for and interacting with a dog can help develop a positive self image and sense of empowerment. If a person cares for and gets on well with animals it can teach alot about respect of others as well as the ability to respect and value oneself.
- Self care – caring for a dog (i.e grooming) can open up discussions about an individual’s self care and the importance of this.
- Empathy – Those who care for dogs can learn to understand about the needs of the dog, in turn learning about the needs of others outside of the therapy session.
- Social support – Dogs can provide much needed social support, often reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation.
- It can provide an opportunity to develop fine and gross motor skills – this can be done by carrying out tasks such as attaching a lead to a collar or grooming. The dog can act as a motivatior to carry out such tasks.
Some examples of activities carried out during sessions can include:
- Simple obedience exercises.
- Lead walking with Fudge.
- Hide and seek (encouraging Fudge to find his toy that you’ve hidden).
- Grooming and learning about self care.
- Reading to Fudge.
- Learning about the body language of dogs and perhaps relating to own feelings and emotions.
- Learning how to respect and behave around dogs and the importance of this.
Overall interventions can act as an opening to important discussions, often in a very gentle and non judgemental way. This in turn can have a positive impact on physical abilities as well as an opportunity to address psychological, social, emotional and cognitive needs.
Fee’s and booking
Sessions for Animal Assisted Interventions are for 50 minutes at a cost of £35 per session. Sessions take place at The Latton Bush centre in Harlow. Due to animal welfare, Fudge is only available for a limited number of sessions per week, so availability may be limited.
The first session will be an information session where we can discuss your needs and appropriate interventions. If you are interested in booking an initial session or have any questions as to how this could benefit you, or someone you know, please get in touch. You can contact me via phone or text, alternatively you can use the contact form on my ‘contact me’ page.
Please note this is a general ‘Therapy’ and not specifically counselling. It is suitable for adults as well as children of varying needs/abilities. If you are specifically looking for counselling please see my Counselling page.