Animal Assisted therapy within My Exceptional setting involves therapy but with an animal present in the room that is used to add to the calm, safe atmosphere. Our animals are trained to stay calm and relaxed, to bring balance and a sense of security to the room to aid the person in their recovery. It is suitable for people who are comfortable with an animal presence and would benefit from having a positive animal energy. They can either be in the room, or available for reassuring cuddles. It is in addition to the therapy session and over time we plan to expand this offering and holistic therapy.
What is the science behind Animal Therapy?
Wilson’s (1984) biophilia hypothesis is based on the premise that our attachment to and interest in animals stems from the strong possibility that human survival was partly dependent on signals from animals in the environment indicating safety or threat. The biophilia hypothesis suggests that if we see animals at rest or in a peaceful state, this may signal to us safety, security and feelings of well-being which in turn may trigger a state where personal change and healing are possible.
Six neurotransmitters that influence mood have been documented to release after a 15-minute or more interaction with animals resulting in a greater recovery and sense of well being after an interaction with a therapeutic animal. To have a positive impact on well being it is not necessary for an animal to be trained, may people and children with pets already experience the positive impact on a daily basis, one of the reasons why companies allow dogs to enter workspaces is because of all the positive effects of animals on peoples well being.
Animals are used with children to decrease severity of ADHD, helps military personnel reduce PTSD symptoms, reduces anxiety and social anxieties, is used to promote positive environments within nursing home settings and has countless pediatric benefits. There is much evidence to support this, here is the link for the Wikipedia page which is a decent starting point although far from exhaustive. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal-assisted_therapy
The option of having an animal present is now available for individual clients of My Exceptional. Currently we offer individuals the ability to have a calm animal present in the room, or on the lap during treatment sessions to add to the session, Once we have a fully trained therapy dog, this will also be an option for business and individual clients, watch this space. Our animals are rescued and have had their own set of troubles before coming here and have made their own recovery so are full of understanding, positivity and love for life that you can’t help but absorb. If you wish to try animal therapy please let me know in advance so the space can be prepared.