What is the theory behind this Pet Therapy Worksheet?
Pet Therapy or ‘Animal assisted’ therapy is a fairly new way of incorporating the various physical and psychological benefits of interacting with friendly animals into the counselling or therapeutic process to meet treatment goals. The animals involved in this are chosen based on their gentle nature such as dogs, cats, dolphins, birds and horses. The purpose is to bring emotional, social, physical and mental changes in the individual through positive interaction with an animal via their presence and involvement in various games and activities.
How will the worksheet help?
The worksheet will help provide information related to the use of animals in therapy for any counsellor or therapist who wishes to adopt it for their clients. It will provide the various benefits of incorporating animals in therapy and the necessary guidelines that must be followed.
How to use the worksheet?
This worksheet can provide basic information regarding pet therapy or animal-assisted therapy to counsellors or therapists who are seeking to incorporate animals in their sessions.
Pet Therapy Worksheet
|What is pet therapy or animal-assisted therapy?||The use of gentle and friendly trained animals in therapeutic settings to meet specific treatment goals. For example cats, dogs, rabbits and birds.|
What are some of its benefits?
|The presence of an animal can help make the client feel calm, relaxed and comfortable in an otherwise unknown and strange environment. Hence decreasing resistance to therapy.Contact with animals is known to release ‘happy’ hormones and lower ‘stress’ hormones.Caring for the animal will increase empathy skills, sense of responsibility, self confidence and self esteem.Addition of a joyful and humorous element in the therapeutic process Companionship of an animal makes people feel less lonely and isolatedTherapist can gain valuable insight about the client through their interactions with the animalPetting the animal can be particularly helpful while sharing difficult emotions or feelingsAnimal assisted therapy can be extended from the clinic to one’s home by encouraging caring for a pet. Specially helpful for kids and the older population that are seeking therapy|
General guidelines for using animals in therapy
|Chosen animal must be calm, gentle and enjoy the presence of peopleAnimals must be prepared for experiencing any unusual sights, sounds and behavioursMust be properly trained to follow directionsTherapy dogs must have good temperament and certification in obedience trainingEasily controlled by their ‘handler’Can sit quietly for long periods of time.Always make sure the therapy animal is safe especially if any stressful situations ariseAlways make sure the animal gets to have appropriate amount of breaks and play timesMake sure there is a safe area in the therapy room for the animal with their favourite toys or and comfortable bedding. This is to ensure their safety from any unpleasant stimulation. Make sure there is water available nearbyHave frequent grooming sessions.|
Fine, A. H. (2010). Incorporating animal-assisted therapy into psychotherapy: Guidelines and suggestions for therapists. In A. H. Fine (Ed.), Handbook on animal-assisted therapy: Theoretical foundations and guidelines for practice (pp. 169–191). Elsevier Academic Press. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-381453-1.10010-8
You can download this worksheet here.