It is doubtful that cats or dogs will ever be recognized as preferred providers by insurance companies. But more and more hospitals, rest homes, and therapists are employing the プロ野球選手 税金対策 use of animals as co-therapists in some fashion. This may be relatively new in the united states, but not so elsewhere. The belief that animals are good companions for those who are sick has a long history. A long
History of Companionship
Britain has been more progressive in the therapeutic use of pets than has the united states. In the 1790s, a Quaker retreat center encouraged its patients to spend time touching and interacting with the roaming farm animals at the facility. The staff believed this would improve the mental state of the people more than the archaic treatments used for the mentally ill at that time. Animal-assisted therapy actually had its beginnings with therapeutic horseback riding programs in Germany during the 1960s. It wasn’t until the 1980s that the use of animals in therapeutic settings became more common in the united states. Animals used in the various visitations and therapy settings can vary dogs, cats, horses, Capuchin monkeys, and some varieties of birds are used. Social workers and physical therapists have led the way more often than not in employing animals to assist in helping patients. 2
Personal Discovery: In the late 1960s, I stumbled on the therapeutic use of dogs in my own counseling practice. At that time, I had an office in my home. When counselees came to the door, my two gregarious shelties were there first. It became a ritual for everyone to meet them. I soon discovered how influential pets were in the lives of these people. Some refused to leave until they said good-bye to my dogs. Others seemed more relaxed when one of the dogs sat next to them during the session. At times, I observed a quiet, reserved man become more outgoing and expressive when greeting a dog. I noticed his wife’s reaction to this response, especially when they had rarely experienced such an expressive occasion in their own interaction. Of course, this became a helpful topic of discussion during the session. When i opened a counseling center, the process continued. Tropical fish in the waiting room entertained and relaxed children as well as adults. As i made the transition from raising shelties to golden retrievers, new opportunities arose to use a dog as an assistant. With Sheffield, my retriever, we had a natural greeter at the counseling center. He was kept in the front office, visible to all who entered. I discovered those who needed his services and those who were not as responsive to dogs.
In many sessions, Sheffield’s presence in the counseling office was a source of comfort. I also used some of his qualities to illustrate ways of responding to others. When someone is struggling through the grieving process, the use of an animal has proven beneficial. The touching of the dog as well as his sensitive concern to the persons crying has been useful in eliciting responses from the counselee in the ensuing discussion.
Benefits to consider: Why would anyone want to use animals in his or her counseling practice? What are the benefits? Consider the following findings. Therapists have discovered that having an animal in the office, whether it be a cat, a dog, or fish in a tank, is relaxing. Animals help soothe agitated feelings. They can be used as a way to make contact with a reserved client or a hesitant child. An animal may serve as a bridge to person-to-person interaction. If a person is paranoid, he or she may have difficulty connecting with you, whereas the animal acts as a go-between. 3 A study of a twice-weekly animal visitation program in rest homes using experimental and control groups showed a significant change in residents functioning. Those who received visits experienced statistically significant decreases in depression, anxiety, and confusion. 4 A year long study of nearly 1, 000 elderly members of a Los angeles health maintenance organization discovered that those who owned dogs sought medical care 20% less often than those without pets.