ANIMAL ASSISTED THERAPY - 'PAWPRINTS'
Working with Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is an area I have been interested in for a long time. Personally I have benefited therapeutically from the company of and the interaction with horses, dogs and cats. From this I realised how the presence of an animal in the counselling room could benefit the client.
In the past, through being a member of Therapet, my two dogs and I visited patients in hospital. We also participated in the Therapet's 'Paws for Stress' project helping students cope with exam stress. My work with Therapet confirmed to me the therapeutic benefits of having my dogs as co-therapists.
Many of my clients choose to have my dogs present when they come to counselling. Their presence in the counselling room can help to relieve some of the tension and anxiety of therapy. Interacting with the dogs helps them feel more at ease and can be a welcome distraction. I still counsel in a person centred way, but with the dogs, the client has a couple of non-judgemental furry friends in the room with them.