Here at Regina Speech Centre we love to share information about the amazing opportunities for therapy that are available in Regina and outlying areas. We believe in our clients having access to innovative therapy approaches offered by skilled and talented professionals, and that’s why we are so excited to have Registered Psychologist Kali Eddy guest blog for us. Kali has recently opened Wild Blue Psychology in the scenic Qu’Appelle Valley near Lumsden, SK. She is offering new and exciting opportunities for children, youth and adults to experience Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT). I took some time to go out and tour her facility and learn about AAT firsthand and was impressed and absolutely thrilled with the range of possibilities that the therapy Kali is doing might offer our clients, and many others. We see so many opportunities for our children with: autism, developmental delay, anxiety and even our reluctant to talk clients who might just bloom and open up in the therapeutic structure offered in AAT. Read on to find out more about AAT and what it can offer. You can follow Wild Blue Psychology on Instagram, Facebook or check out the website at http://www.wildbluepsychology.com/
Animal Assisted Therapy 101
Although it is relatively new to Saskatchewan, Animal Assisted therapy has been around for many years.
Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is used in addition to a therapists existing style of therapy. As a Psychologist, I love using AAT because it offers a less intimidating environment and helps take some of the fear out of the idea of going to therapy. The word Psychologist is a scary one to many people, and the idea of using animals and nature to help children and youth feel more comfortable and reach their goals is just such a unique and powerful concept that I am so fortunate to be able to offer. I am a born and raised farm girl, and a Registered Psychologist who is able to combine my two passions and use AAT as a way to enhance my therapeutic sessions and increase the potency of the therapeutic relationship with my clients.
So what is Animal Assisted Therapy anyway….
• AAT is a form of therapy that uses the human animal bond in goal directed interventions
• It is led by a credentialed Therapist or Psychologist working within the scope of their credentials, who sets therapeutic goals and guides the interaction between the patient and animals. The therapist measures progress toward therapy goals and evaluates progress.
Some of the possible benefits may include:
• Clients may be more motivated to attend & participate due to the desire to be near the therapy animals
• They may experience soothing comfort and acceptance from the animal
• May reduce stress and provide a calming atmosphere for the client
• Animals help to form a trusting therapeutic relationship between client and therapist
• Use of the animals often takes the pressure off the client and allows them to feel more comfortable and express themselves
• Clients may experience enjoyment and entertainment from interactions with the animals
• AAT may enhance a client’s personal awareness from the way the animal interacts with the client
I want to take a minute to help you understand the difference between Animal Assisted Activities & Animal Assisted Therapy, as most people tend to lump them both into the same category. However, AAA involves mostly social visits (pets visiting a care home) where as AAT uses the human animal bond in goal directed interventions as part of a therapeutic treatment plan, led by a credentialed therapist.
AAT can be used to address Mental Health & Developmental needs in the following areas:
• Youth at risk
• Social skills & communication
• Complex needs
• Multiple diagnosis
• Life skills
As I sit here and write this blog, I am surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature…there is a chubby black pug at my feet, I can hear cows mooing, and there is a curious horse who has his nose pushed against my office window. AAT has allowed me to offer therapy in this unique atmosphere and provides people with an alternative to traditional types of therapy.