Just about everyone loves dogs, especially children. It is not surprising then, that psychotherapists are beginning to incorporate Canine Assisted Therapy into their counseling process. Children in particular resonate to the love and playfulness they experience when interacting with a furry friend.
According to Roseann Bennett, a family therapist from Hackettstown, New Jersey, her therapy dog, Jack, helps kids overcome anxiety and other symptoms. Perhaps, it is the unconditional love that Jack provides to the kids she counsels. It could be simply a distraction from anxiety that allows the child to be less fearful and more attentive in sessions. Bennett believes some children may just feel safer in the presence of a kind and protective animal. There is a body of research showing that merely petting a soft fuzzy animal can lower one’s blood pressure.
Ms. Bennett does not rely solely on the comfort and love provided by Jack to reach her young patients, but uses other evidence based therapeutic interventions in addition. Roseann Bennett understands that there is no single modality of treatment that works for everyone and is able to utilize the canine counselor as an adjunct intervention. Jack has proven that he has a knack for putting kids at ease and allowing their playful side to emerge. Having a dog in the office helps kids feel that therapy sessions don’t have to be scary or painful, and if these sessions do touch on painful topics, Jack is there to plant a wet sloppy kiss on their faces.
Ms. Bennett did not just grab a puppy and throw him into the therapy setting. Not just any dog can be a therapy pet. Jack attended several weeks of training to help hone his social skills. In addition, Ms. Bennett and her husband raise him in their own home, where Jack was first exposed to their own child as well as other children before earning his place at the office. See This Page to learn more.
Related link: https://www.crunchbase.com/person/roseann-bennett