Animal therapy is an intervention that incorporates different kinds of animals to help people with a variety of mental and physical health conditions. The animals included in your treatment could be cats, dogs, horses, pigs, birds, and more. It’s something that can add to and enhance an individual’s treatment plan, and it’s incredibly cathartic and helpful for many. Animals have a way of making us feel at ease. They don’t ask for anything but love. When you pet a cat or dog, you know they appreciate your affection. Cats let you know that they love you by purring. Dogs communicate their warmth by licking you. Animals are sensitive like people are. They show their sensitivity in different ways, but it’s there. Animal therapy can teach us a lot about different creatures and ourselves.
When animal therapy is used
Animal therapy is used in conjunction with other forms of mental health treatment. For example, a person who is suffering from severe anxiety or agoraphobia might have an emotional support dog so they can deal with leaving the house. In addition to having their ESA, they will also go to individual therapy. Animal therapy can be incorporated for those living with autism spectrum disorder, a variety of behavioral issues, depression, schizophrenia, addiction, and more. It can even help those with dementia. Animals have a way of making you feel relaxed, and animal-assisted therapy may help to decrease your stress levels or boost your mood. It has proven health benefits, including decreased blood pressure and heart rate, decreased aggression and stress, improved self-regulation, and more. If you want to learn more about who animal therapy can help and how it works, keep reading.
What to expect in animal therapy
Depending on the type of therapy you’re seeking, who you are, and who your therapist is, you might encounter a dog, cat, horse, or another kind of animal. Therapy horses are game-changers for many. So helpful that some residential treatment facilities incorporate equine therapy into their programs. If you’re pursuing horse therapy specifically and you’re nervous, it’s important to note that a mental health professional will always be present during equine therapy and that equine treatment doesn’t necessarily or even usually involve riding the horse. If you’re in the hospital, you might experience animal therapy there, but it’s often used in conjunction with other forms of treatment. Don’t be afraid of receiving animal therapy – the animals are well-behaved, calm, and prepared for what they do.
How animal therapy works
Especially when it comes to helping those with anxiety, animals have a way of calming people. They can distract an individual’s attention away from panic, can help people feel loved or bonded, and they can help people with communication or social skills as well as a variety of other skills. According to the ADAA, 74% of pet owners noted an improvement in their mental health as a result of owning a pet.
What to look for in an animal therapist
Whenever you look for a therapist, first make sure that they’re a licensed therapist. Animal therapists must be experienced. They need to know how to work with animals, they need to know what the benefits of working with animals are, and they need to understand what an emotional support animal is. An emotional support animal is one that can help people with various health conditions such as cancer, heart problems, anxiety, and other mental or physical diagnoses.
Getting help for your problems, whether you seek animal-assisted therapy or not, is vital. Pet therapy can help you improve your mental health. Whether you’re searching for a mental health professional online or in your local area, don’t be afraid to reach out for help.
This is a featured post by site sponsor Better Help.
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