Animal Assisted Therapy

Everyone deserves love and connection. 

Therapy Dogs: Healing Hearts in Ways Only Loving Animals Can

Creative Family Counseling has provided Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) with our 4-legged team members since we opened in 2016.  Pawsibilities Unleashed, a non-profit organization in Frankfort, Kentucky who both trains and provides service and therapy animals defines therapy animals as “companion animals that are trained to offer comfort and support to people. These animals go into nursing homes, hospitals, schools, and other places to help bring happiness and joy to those they work with.”  Additionally, Pawsibilities Unleashed explains that AAT “involves an animal with specific characteristics becoming a fundamental part of a person’s [client’s] treatment. Animal-assisted therapy is designed to improve the physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning of the patient, as well as provide educational and motivational effectiveness for participants.  AAT dogs are trained to interact with patients using Animal Assisted Activities (AAA) to help them achieve certain goals. They are used in conjunction with counselors, teachers, or therapists. ”

Throughout their training to become Therapy Dogs, these Creative Family team members had to demonstrate their therapeutic skills with a thorough evaluation process.  Sometimes people ask if Therapy Dogs are 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 and interacted with throughout the counseling session!

Animal-Assisted Therapy is a powerful tool that helps clients experience peace, safety, and healing at Creative Family Counseling.

What do the Therapy Animals provide at Creative Family Counseling?

  • Social and emotional support
  • Reduction of stress and anxiety
  • Promote engagement and trust
  • Teach social skills
  • Offer a calming presence
  • Disarm anger and defensiveness
  • Create a safe environment
  • Engage fearful clients, especially resistant teen clients
  • Opportunities for clients to ground themselves after challenging sessions
  • Fun!
  • Love!

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.

Who are your current Therapy Animals? 

To learn more about our therapy animals, visit our Prospect Campus Team and our Lyndon Campus Team pages. To learn about our Founding Therapy Dog, Lola, click here.

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Therapists who work at Creative Family Counseling, LLC are committed to providing culturally competent and affirming care. This includes ongoing conversations on issues of power, privilege, and oppression, as well as dedicated focus and education on these issues, with the goal of supporting anti-racism, anti-discrimination, & anti-hate to foster growth, love, change, and social justice for all.