Dogs are not ordinary pets – they are professional hounds who have been tested for personality, medical issues and psychological response. When certified therapy dogs are brought into a therapeutic situation, their presence may provide nothing at all, however, during experiments on an in‐patient recovery level addiction treatment group, more than half of the participants actively participated with the therapy animals.
The mere presence of the animals in the therapy setting seemed to allow the patients to be more open about their own family experiences, as they allowed stories about their pets to launch stories about the rest of their home lives. The patients were also able to become more self‐aware through behavioral exercise around bonding with the dogs. For instance, some patients with boundary issues expected the dogs to bond too quickly, and were hurt and withdrew when the dogs did not come through. The therapeutic staff was able to intervene, counsel the patient on ways to allow the dog in, without being threatening or unrealistic, thereby increasing the patient’s ability to consciously relate to another animal and regulate their own behavior.
Dogs in particular are well suited to being therapy animals, but they aren’t the only pets allowed to help addicts recover. Any animal relationship can be highly beneficial to an addict, who may have cut themselves off from the most important relationships in their life. Some people bond more easily with animals than they do with other humans, as they are non‐judgmental and don’t blame you for your behavior – they just want to love and be loved, and that is in many ways exactly what addiction recovery patient needs. In addition, the presence of a pet during recovery is a valuable way to begin transitioning to an independent lifestyle again. The pet has needs which must be met. For an addict, meeting his own needs during addiction, much less during recovery, can be very difficult.
Certainly, the presence of a pet who is utterly dependent upon the patient, and trusting him to fulfill its need for food, hygiene and affection is a great way for the recovery patient to learn to trust himself again. Pets reduce stress, allow the recovery patient to gain a new focus and understanding of himself, and they do it with such love and style. It’s no wonder they are becoming a treasured part of addiction recovery therapy programs!
Distributed by Client Initiative
Company Name: Turning Point Treatment Center, Inc.
Contact Person: Jeffrey
Address:31441 Santa Margarita Pwky #A
City: Rancho Santa Margarita
Country: United States