Animal Assisted Counselling
Research shows animal assisted therapy offers numerous benefits to all age groups. It has been found to reduce anxiety, decrease blood pressure, improve pain management and slow breathing. Animals can be particularly helpful when working with children and young people with Autism. Some children with autistic traits often find social situations uncomfortable, therefore the buffer of having an animal in the room can improve the therapeutic relationship and allow the child to engage. When a child feels more relaxed, they are more likely to open up and discuss their emotions and experiences. Serum markers, such as oxytocin, cortisol and dopamine which are associated with social bonding, are increased by positive interaction with animals.
Ways of working together
My way of working with each client is so individual. I have found teens are often able to using talking alone. Younger children are often keen to bring animals into the session. I have a box of fidget toys readily available, as well as access to other props, paper, pens and worksheets.