At Mosaic, our Animal Therapy is in partnership with TMH Animal Therapy Department in Tallahassee Florida. Animal Therapy sessions invite an animal and it's handler into the counseling process. The animal, who is typically a dog, will help clients through the therapy process by easing intense emotions and providing comfort. Animal Therapy or Animal Assisted interventions are helpful with a variety of clients including children, teens, and adults. Incorporating animals into therapy sessions has been proven to decrease anxiety and offer coping when discussing difficult topics.
Animal Therapy is helpful for all ages and can be beneficial to address a variety of concerns. Animal Therapy has been used to help young children, or older kids, teens, adolescents, college age and young adults or older adults. The therapy animals can help clients overcome a myriad of clinical concerns including anxiety, trauma, depression, identity, self esteem, behavioral issues, animal phobias and more. Any client who is willing to invite a trained therapy dog and their handler into counseling sessions, is a good fit. Animal therapy is not a good fit for anyone with a history of animal cruelty or individuals with low regulation skills resulting in big behavioral outbursts. Mosaic makes animal therapy available to the Tallahassee community.
For many of us, the presence of an animal prompts the body to release serotonin, prolactin and oxytocin. These hormones generate a relaxation and stress-reducing response, according to UCLA Health. Did you know this can actually lower symptoms of depression, anxiety and sadness, helping support good mental health. When an individual engages with an animal, it actually regulates the body’s nervous system. Animals also have a keen innate sense of how to ground us. That's why in an animal therapy session, the therapy dog might go around and "greet" everyone; to help us all feel calmer and more safe. Animal therapy is founded in the research that as we engage with animals our brain creates new pathways for soothing, learning and growth. Animal Therapy offers a space for counseling clients to regulate their nervous system during the therapy process. Imagine if while talking about hard things you could feel the comfort of a calm sweet pup laying their head in your lap. Animal therapy offers comfort to clients in a new way compared to traditional talk therapy.
Mosaic Creative Counseling partners with the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Animal Therapy Department in Tallahassee Florida. At TMH, Animal Therapy teams consist of one animal (typically a dog) and one handler. To become a credentialed team with TMH, both handler and the animal complete thorough training and temperament testing. This intense process helps to ensure that both animal and handler are well equipped and ready to participate in Animal Therapy sessions. The animal therapy handler's primary job is to take care of the animal and watch for signs of distress. They are the animals advocate; meaning the therapist still leads the sessions and handlers only intervene if the animal needs something. When a Client is ready to try animal therapy they are matched with an animal and handler based on their needs and comfort level. If a large dog might be more comforting, we take that into consideration. Our goal is to make clients at ease during this process. Keep in mind that the animal handler is well versed in confidentiality and adheres to the same level of confidentiality as mental health professionals.
Mosaic Creative Counseling partners with the Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Animal Therapy Department. In an Animal Therapy session, there are at least three people and one furry friend in the room. The therapist, client, and animal handler are present during sessions with the therapy animal, typically a dog. During the session, the client can bond with the animal while continuing to address their mental health goals with the therapist. The animal handler is a highly trained individual, whose job is to read the needs of the animal and advocate accordingly. As the handler they do not intervene in the therapeutic process.
Are you interested in trying Animal Therapy? Clients can switch seamlessly back and forth from traditional Counseling to Animal Therapy if they wish. There is no formality needed, just communicate with the therapist or on your referral form! We are always open to helping clients try new things and find out what works best!
Ready to try animal therapy? Take the next steps to start your healing journey today.
Below are some common myths about animal therapy.
Animal Therapy is for anyone interested, regardless of age. While children love animal therapy, many of our teens and adults enjoy animal therapy too! If client's express interest in having an animal join their sessions, then animal therapy could be a good fit!
At Mosaic, Animal Therapy is not Pet Therapy. Clients are not bringing their own pets to therapy. That would be a liability. The therapy animals are trained and screened for appropriate behaviors. This ensures that no one gets hurt or no accidents happen during an animal therapy session. The animal handler also takes the burden off of the client to care for the animal. Because they are not the pet owner, the client doesn't have to control the animals behaviors' or worry if they have all their needs met. This is the handler's job.
Animal Therapy would not be appropriate for anyone who may pose an intentional or unintentional harm to the animal. This includes anyone with a history of animal cruelty, or anyone with uncontrollable behaviors. Animal Therapy would not be the best fit for anyone with severe animal allergies. Animal Therapy is not a good fit for someone with a severe phobia of animals UNLESS they are ready and willing to address this phobia though gradual exposure.
Animal therapy sessions are specifically cultivated with clients mental health needs in mind. The animals are incorporated into the therapeutic process. This could include using the animals to practice grounding and coping skills to reduce anxiety. The animals each come with their own story and personality which can help clients relate to their own life story and even increase self compassion. Incorporating an animal into therapy does not slow down, stall or delay the therapeutic process.
TMH Animal Therapy Department is the only one of it's kind in the Leon County/Big Bend area. They have been fostering the therapeutic bond between people and animals in Tallahassee since 2005. Their animal therapy teams are highly trained according to national standards. Learn more about how TMH animal therapy is making an impact.
We are hosting 7 weeks of Trauma Informed Yoga for Anxiety. Each week is a yoga class to help you calm your nervous system and settle your anxious mind. The series starts October 2nd. Spots are limited, Reserve yours today!