Animal Assisted Therapy2017-11-13T19:11:22+00:00

Animal Assisted Therapy

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is a goal directed intervention in which an animal meeting specific criteria is an integral part of the treatment process.  It is directed by a mental health professional who identifies treatment goals.  The animal assisted interventions are designed to promote improvement in social, emotional, or cognitive skills.

ANIMAL ASSISTED THERAPY BOSTON

FOR CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS

Many children and teens who are living with anxiety, depression, troubles with peer relationships or living with a challenging family time, do not want to talk to a therapist. Animal Assisted Therapy is a great option for kids and teens. It is not uncommon for me to hear from a parent, “My child went to a therapist and now refuses to go back and says s/he will never talk to another therapist.”

WHAT IS AN ANIMAL ASSISTED SESSION LIKE?

An AAT session with Thor involves the child/ teen greeting and spending time with Thor. This is usually a time to relax and bond with Thor and check in. After that we often move into working on teaching some mindfulness skills like Thor breathing (relaxation breathing). Then we move into an active session where the child/ teen helps Thor accomplish different activities. To be successful the child/ teen needs to learn handler skills: positive reinforcement, changing energy (mood or self-talk), handling frustration, and celebrating success. This allows the child/ teen to try on different feeling states and give them a break from their worries or sadness, while practicing mindfulness and behavioral activation skills.

To be a handler you have to be in the moment with Thor…not thinking ahead and not thinking about the past. Often we end the session with the child/ teen demonstrating a command they learned with Thor for their parent. Some teens start with having more AAT active sessions but move to more talking sessions which are still focused on building skills.

WOULD ANIMAL ASSISTED THERAPY BE AN OPTION FOR MY CHILD?

The first step is to contact Kathy and set up a time for a free phone consultation. If your child has allergies to dogs or has a fear of dogs, AAT with Thor is not an appropriate treatment option.

After the initial phone call, if I determine that AAT would be clinically appropriate, I will schedule an intake session with you, the parent(s). In this intake, we will talk about your child/teen’s developmental (educational, medical, and social) history and learn more about your concerns. This helps me begin to identify some initial areas of intervention. It also allows you a chance to meet and interact with Thor and ask any questions.

The next step is to schedule an intake session for your child or teen. At this session the child/teen will meet Thor and we will begin to start identifying some goals that the child/teen is interested in working on. After three sessions with the child/teen, I schedule a feedback session for the parent(s) where I discuss impressions and observations, but also learn about what behaviors or changes the parent(s) are seeing at home or school. I believe that there needs to be close teamwork and integration between what happens in therapy room and how parents can support their child or teen to make positive changes.

Animal Assisted Therapy with Thor is an intensive and active session. All sessions are 45 minutes. Please select “New Client” on the portal to schedule your free phone consultation.

REACH OUT TO GET STARTED

ANIMAL ASSISTED THERAPY JAMAICA PLAIN BOSTON

ANIMAL ASSISTED THERAPY JAMAICA PLAIN BOSTON