The Rise of Animal-Assisted Therapy


Written by: Phil Monahan

Ellen Winston and Sasha are a certified therapy team, through Professional Therapy Dogs of Colorado.
Photo via animalassistedtherapyprograms.org/

Here’s a fascinating story from Colorado, about a therapist who uses a dog in one of the most tense and fraught situations of her profession: couples therapy. Ellen Winston—of Lakewood, Colorado—has an assistant named Sasha who helps her clients stay calm:

During the sessions, the couple would sit on complete opposite sides of the couch. Sasha would hop in the middle, curl up and fall asleep. Both partners would stroke Sasha at particularly emotional moments, and it helped them calm down. Still, they continued to get agitated, often letting therapy sessions intensify into screaming matches. When that happened, Sasha would quickly get up and walk to the door. Winston used those moments as teaching points.

Even in some of our most emotionally charged moments, a dog can provide comfort and serve as an example of what is appropriate behavior. Wow.

An article from Time goes on to discuss how therapy dogs are being used in an increasing number of situations because of the benefits they provide for people.

Click here for the full story.

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