What is Animal Assisted Counseling?
Animal Assisted Counseling (AAC) is a type of therapy that incorporates an animal into the counseling session to increase the well-being of the client. The types of animals used in animal assisted counseling vary from horses to mice. Animal Assisted Counseling can be structured with activities or informal allowing the animal to interact naturally. Animal Assisted Counseling of Indiana incorporates Canine Therapy Partners into the counseling session using a natural informal process to help the individual develop a better, healthier way to live.
How is Animal Assisted Counseling Different that other Counseling?
The main difference in animal assisted counseling is the animal becomes part of the tools used to help the client achieve the goals they are seeking. This is done in conjunction with a licensed clinician who will use the approach to counseling that they believe to be beneficial to the client’s growth.
What are the Benefits of Animal Assisted Counseling?
Research has shown that when you work with an animal in therapy your stress, anxiety, sadness and depression decreases. You feel more at ease, more connected to others, and are more able to address difficult issues. Animals, canine specific, offer an atmosphere of unconditional support along with having an ability to respond to and understand unspoken human emotions. The interactions and relationship bond between a human and animal is a natural boost to the human psyche.
How do I know Counseling is right for me?
When problems or life becomes difficult and you no longer feel like you can muddle through, or your emotions are directing your behavior can be a sign that counseling would be good for you. If you are feeling tired, isolated, sad or overwhelmed counseling would be good for you. If you have thoughts that continue to spiral, if you have difficulty shutting down or sleeping at night counseling would be good for you. If your relationships are difficult and not fulfilling counseling would be a good fit for you. If you are not sure if counseling would be good for you it is always best to error on the side of caution and schedule an appointment to talk with someone. You never lose by taking care of yourself and you always have the option of stopping once you feel like you got what you needed.
How do I know if my child needs Counseling?
If you are seeking out answers about how to support your child it is most likely that they can benefit from counseling. If they are acting out, isolating, becoming victim to bullying, failing at school they would benefit from counseling. If they are fighting at home, getting angry, crying a lot they would benefit from counseling. If they are feeling overwhelmed and unable to keep up with requests or personal responsibilities they would benefit from counseling. You are the best resource your child has. If you think they need help please don’t hesitate it will only prolong and exacerbate their difficulties while hindering your relationship with them.
How long will it take?
That question is very common but one of the most difficult to answer. Everyone is different and comes to counseling with different concerns and backgrounds so the timeline is individual. The initial contact in counseling is normally gathering information and developing a therapeutic flow that can take anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks. Time spent in counseling after that is based on the individual.
What will I have to do in Counseling?
Counseling sessions are used to process current difficulties through self-exploration, behavior modification, and cognitive restructuring. This is done through dialogue, and activities. These things can be done both in session and out of session according to your therapist direction. It is important to note that counseling is a relationship encounter between you and your therapist to enhance your goals and well-being. Even though exploration and activities occur in session a lot of the “aha” moments and behavior practice is done outside of the session in your real life.
Should I just take medication?
Medication is used to help control or decrease physical presenting symptoms it does not fix, change or resolve what is going on with you. That takes counseling. Working with a Therapist to discover what the root cause is and develop coping skills in counseling has been shown to be the most effective way to address emotional and behavioral difficulties.
Can I handle this on my own?
Of course you are the only one who can answer that but if your difficulties are affecting how you function socially, professionally, when you are alone, or in your intimate relationships it is best to talk with a professional who can help you work through what is happening so you can live your best life now.
Can’t I just talk to my best friend or family?
Talking with friends and family is good but not the same as counseling treatment. Counseling professionals have been trained to understand and respond to your concerns is a way that will lead to you changing your thoughts and/or behaviors. Venting to someone you feel close with can also run the potential of ruining that relationship. While talking with a counseling professional will help you develop a better sense of self and enhance the relationships that are important in your life.
My partner and I are having problems. Should we be in individual counseling or come together?
If you are concerned about your relationship, and both of you are willing to work with me, it would initially be best to work with both of you together. After our initial work we could then decide if one of you would like to continue in individual sessions. It is best to move from couples to individual sessions due to trust issues.
These are just some of the questions I get asked. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact me at 708-730-2600 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am happy to respond.