Animal Assisted Therapy.....
Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is a goal-oriented, planned, structured, therapeutic intervention conducted by health and human service providers as part of their profession (Pet Partners, 2018).
AAT is evidence based therapy, using human-animal bond to help clients find healing. Research shows that we bond with animals in the same way we bond with our children and loved ones (Johnson, 2014). Animals provide a secure attachment and safe haven for people who may be nervous about coming to counseling, have had a traumatic experience, or for motivation to change. Animals can clients restore feelings of hope and self-worth, and be a resource for enacting self-soothing and distress tolerance skills.
During an AAT session, clients will focus on working with an animal in the here and now in order to integrate awareness, personal choice, boundaries, coping skills, and responsibility. Clients will discover new skills and implements them into new ways of thinking and coping.
(If you are considering a service animal for yourself outside of AAT, Matthew can help you with finding appropriate training for your dog, and will provide education on your rights and responsibilities that come along with having a service dog.)
Not every client is a good match for AAT. If you are interested in AAT, please schedule a consultation with Matthew, our AAT therapist.
……a bit more about our AAT therapy team, Matthew and Jake:
Matthew Lonski, MA, NCE, has been a dog lover his entire life. He has grown up with dogs and strongly believes in the human-animal bond as being a catalyst for therapy. He has seen firsthand, how a dog can help someone turn their life around. Matthew conducts AAT with his co-therapist, Jake.
Jake is a highly trained therapy dog (aka animal therapist) here at TGC. He works along side Matthew to provide AAT, in conjunction with other evidence based practices such as CBT, DBT, EFT, etc. Jake is a one year old purebred AKC golden retriever. Jake loves going to work, playing fetch, taking walks, and absolutely LOVES people!
Can I bring my dog or animal to my therapy sessions?
Our dog therapist Jake has gone through significant, specialized training in order to work for TGC. In order to be helpful to clients, Jake has had to learn how to be a therapy dog; this entails obeying commands and resisting temptation beyond what a typical pet is expected to do, such as taking human food, jumping on kids, barking excessively, being aggressive, or biting.