Animal Assisted Therapy
When Lacey Ryan, LMFT was in graduate school, she was lucky enough to be placed at a practicum site which had its very own Art Therapy Department. At this site, Lacey worked with Art Therapists and absorbed as much as she could from their practice. Part of this practice was a sweet Therapy Dog named Brinkley. After witnessing the healing and love an animal could provide to clients, Lacey decided that one day her practice would include pet therapy as well.
Lola the Great Dane is the Office Therapy Dog at Creative Family Counseling. She is certified to provide Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT). Sometimes people ask if she’s allowed to be loved on, and the answer is ALWAYS “YES!” Unlike other service animals, an animal who is certified to provide AAT is there to provide love and healing for others, and that includes being loved on!
Animal-Assisted Therapy is a powerful tool that helps clients experience peace, safety, and healing at Creative Family Counseling. Not only do therapy animals provide social and emotional support for clients, but they also reduce stress and anxiety, promote engagement and trust, teach social skills, and offer a calming presence.
AAT can be offered with direct interventions from therapists, such as teaching focusing skills and mindfulness strategies or it can be offered to complement other treatment methods, such as petting an animal while recounting a painful experience. The bonds created between the therapy animal and the client can help to increase self-worth and trust and improve coping, social, and communication skills.