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                                                               Animal-Assisted Counseling

Meet Wyatt.  Wyatt is a nine-year-old border collie cross who weighs about 30 pounds.  He is available to provide animal-assisted counseling. Wyatt and I are registered as a therapy team with Intermountain Therapy Animals (ITA) and we volunteer together as a Reading Education Assistance Dog (READ) team.  

There are many reasons you might want to include Wyatt in your counseling sessions.  Here are some possible benefits of animal-assisted therapy:

  • Increases motivation for coming to counseling & participating in sessions

  • Helps build trust with the counselor

  • Offers added affection and comfort 

  • The animal provides unconditional acceptance

  • Allows the client to work harder in session by shifting some of the focus of the pain and discomfort away from the client

  • Provides enjoyment and uplifts mood

  • Helps calm nervous or anxious feelings

  • Allows for a multi-sensory experience, which may enhance integration of the therapy experience


Research on animal-assisted therapy has shown working with a therapy animal can improve anxiety and distress, depression, motivation, self-esteem, emotional and behavior problems in children and adolescents, and dementia.

Animal-assisted counseling is not appropriate for every client.  Wyatt will not be in my office unless we have determined ahead of time that he would be a good fit for you and the particular situation for which you are seeking counseling. Please ask if you are interested in including Wyatt in your sessions and we can discuss the possibility.

(Information taken from Chandler's Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling)




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