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From May 2018 RASAC is introducing AAT as part of its range of services. Here is some information regarding AAT and about its use as part of our counselling options.
The benefits of AAT … general observations of a variety of therapy sessions which have used AAT indicate the presence of an animal can make sessions more pleasurable and productive and improve therapeutic outcome for some clients. Some clients just find it easier to have something else in the room as a focus when having their face to face counselling sessions some of which can be hard especially in the initial few sessions.
Studies have shown human-animal interaction favourably impacts on the level of blood lipids, glucose which influence the bodies’ own production of substances which both boost the immune system, relieve pain and generate an overall sense of well-being. Whether patting or stroking a dog or just having the dog in the room appears to be both comforting and heightens awareness, both of which seem to lead to a feeling of overall contentment.
Many clients have low self- esteem due to their experiences and have low self-confidence. Contact with animals has been demonstrated to improve self-esteem and self-worth both at the time and in the longer term.
“A therapy dog may be the first creature who has listened and responded to the client with enthusiasm and compassion. This can result in the client feeling heard and important.”
THE UNCONDITIONAL AFFECTION FACTOR
People generally feel that to receive affection and to be loved they have to give something in return and there are often conditions attached. For many of our clients who have experienced sexual violence or abuse such conditions, especially if childhood related experiences bring back unwanted negative memories. A trained therapy dog, much like most dogs, gives unconditional affection and this can engender a feeling of happiness and release endorphins which in turn help well-being and can relax clients.
IT’S NOT FOR EVERYONE
Not everyone wants or is suitable for AAT. Not everyone likes animals or wants the distraction of an animal in the session. Some people have allergies to animal hair and animals itself. Not everyone has positive regard or experiences of animal interactions, and could, in fact, associate an animal with a flashback or their unwanted sexual experiences.
Here is our dog!! … Ruben … and his trainer Caroline.
You can see how happy he is with his trainer in one of our counselling rooms.
ABOUT … RUBEN
Ruben is used to being in many different environments and has been to many meetings and even to the court !. He is a black Labrador and like all dogs often can be seen asleep and dreaming of the many things he is chasing! Of course, he loves dog treats!
ABOUT OUR TRAINER / COUNSELLOR
Caroline is an experienced and qualified dog therapy trainer and has previously worked with horses in therapy, especially with learning disability clients and young people. Ruben has been with Caroline since he was a puppy. Caroline is one of our counsellors here at RASAC.
To book Animal Assisted counselling you need to refer yourself via the enquiry form on this website and by completing an e-mail enquiry.
Available 24 hours