March was Problem Gambling Awareness Month, an event established by the National Council on Problem Gambling in an effort to promote awareness and education...
Humans and animals have shared an unbreakable bond since the dawn of civilization, and it is this bond that lies at the heart of the idea of animal therapy. Due to this bond and the unspoken communication that exists between humans and many animals, animal therapy can enable many individuals to access and address buried feelings and emotions. This makes animal-assisted therapies incredibly effective in treating addiction patients suffering from trauma or other mental disorders.
At Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, we leverage the powerful link between humans and animals to facilitate the type of healing and recovery which may be more difficult through purely human-to-human interactions. Individuals are comforted by the unconditional love shown from animals. They don’t judge or make them feel shamed for falling into addiction – instead animals offer the warm affection and acceptance that recovering addicts crave. This unconditional love can help to make participants in animal-assisted therapy more willing to open up and address their underlying mental health issues, a critical step in treatment.
In addition to the therapeutic benefits gained from interacting with animals, our therapists are able to glean vital information from these interactions. The way a patient responds to a horse’s movements (and the way it responds to our patients') or the diligence they show in caring for their house pets during residential rehab paint a detailed picture for our therapists of an individual's mental state. These interactions can become an integral part of mental health and substance abuse treatment, particularly for individuals with difficulty opening up and communicating their feelings.