Animal-Assisted Therapy & Recovery
Behavioral Health & Addiction
PAWsitive Coping Skills
* For adolescents ages 12-17; adults ages 18+; & families *
Please contact us for pricing & scheduling options *
We offer Pawsitive Coping Skills as an 8 or 16-week course. We're happy to co-facilitate with a member of your staff who's already running a Seeking Safety group; or to implement it as a new and standalone program for your clients. We're also happy to adapt what we do to complement different types of treatment materials or curriculums you prefer to use at your facility. While holding a clinical license is not a requirement for Seeking Safety facilitators, we do always prefer to coordinate with a member or members of your staff in facilitating our groups, to be sure that a licensed therapist from your organization is connected to the process, in case clients require one-on-one attention outside of our group for further processing.
"Being here with the dogs...helped my broken heart heal. For me, the group has been very therapeutic."
PAWsitive Coping Skills encompasses the following treatment themes from the Seeking Safety curriculum:
* PTSD: Taking Back Your Power
* Integrating the Split Self
* Asking for Help
* Detaching from Emotional Pain (Grounding)
* Red & Green Flags
* Coping with Triggers
* Setting Boundaries in Relationships
* Healing from Anger
* Creating Meaning
* Taking Good Care of Yourself
About Seeking Safety
Seeking Safety is an evidence-based, present-focused counseling model that helps people attain safety from trauma and/or substance abuse, + other forms of compulsory or self-harming behavior.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MODEL HERE: https://www.treatment-innovations.org/ss-description.html
"The dogs help me with my recovery by being themselves. They help release my tension because I focus on them instead."
"I've learned that therapy dogs are very helpful with regard to depression, how to cope, and getting motivated."
When struggling to heal through addiction, and co-occurring disorders like PTSD, depression and anxiety, the unyielding love of an animal can make a significant difference in how a person fares.
Whether your patients or clients are participating in hands-on exercises with our therapy animals in person, observing applicable animal behavior demonstrations on Zoom, or applying what they've learned by practicing it with their own pets, the Pawsitive Coping Skills program has something special to offer!
When paired with guidance from a skilled professional interventionist, animals in the role of "adjunct therapist" have a powerful role to play in clients' recovery in the following ways:
- They enhance an integrative healthcare plan with the kind of alternative and complementary healing that only animals can provide (including clients' own pets, whom they'll learn, effectively, how to utilize as working therapy animals at home)
- They give tangible form to the otherwise abstract emotional and psychological processes of recovery work
- They provide visual representations of safe coping skills being practiced in real time
- Their use in specially-designed, observable exercises pairs the evidence-based restorative effects of animal-assisted therapy, and the proven efficacy of the curriculums we utilize, for exponentially robust treatment outcomes
- Animals help clients cultivate and maintain a positive association with the material they're learning, with virtual mediums for treatment, and with the therapeutic process itself
- Their loving, nonjudgmental energy reminds clients that they are valuable for exactly who they are, no matter where they are in their recovery process; and that they are not alone.
"I like the example of the cat, and thinking of how the cat lives in the here and now, and isn't thinking about how she was abandoned or how she lost her leg."
"I've learned that dogs can be a big influence on people's mental health. Instead of turning to a substance, you can turn to a dog."
Physical & Occupational Therapy
Our calmest, gentlest, most patient therapy dogs are available to help individuals heal from physical or neurological injury or illness; and to assist those who struggle with developmental issues that affect mobility or motor function. By offering loving, nonjudgmental company during rehabilitation exercises, our dogs can inject a unique dose of fun, motivation, reward, positive distraction, and confidence-building into activities that may otherwise be tedious, frustrating or painful.
Gross Motor Skills Practice:
- kicking a ball back and forth with a dog
- kicking a ball for a dog to chase
- Walking next to a dog - or toward a waiting dog with a wagging tail – toward a goal post
- Sitting and standing, alternately, while asking the dog to do the same (in context of the Do As I Do training method, whereby a dog mimics a person’s behavior)
- Doing jumping jacks while asking the dog to stay lying down on a PLACE marker (i.e. acting as a distraction to proof the dog’s “place” behavior)
- Lifting dog toys of different weights, shapes and sizes; throwing them for the dog or playing tug with the dog
- Stretching and bending exercises – leaning down to pet the dog from different positions
- DANCING with DOGS!
Fine Motor Skills Practice
- Counting out training treats
- Loading training treats into a gallon jug or a treat ball to give to the dog
- Putting the dog’s harness or collar and leash on
- Holding a brush and brushing a dog
- Setting up cones with treats underneath for dog to find
- Using a clicker to reinforce dog’s responses to commands