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Animal-Assisted Therapy for Alcoholism

If you’re looking for the best alcohol rehab center for your own or your loved one’s needs, it’s essential to look at the variety of treatments now available. Most centers offer basic counseling, 12-step programs, detoxification, and similar services. But getting clean often means getting more than just the basics. Many treatment centers consider animal-assisted therapy a complementary treatment. For people struggling with alcoholism, the anxiety-reducing, trust-building, and confidence-boosting aspects of interacting with and caring for an animal can make a huge difference.

What Is Animal-Assisted Therapy?

In the broadest sense, animal-assisted therapy is simply taking advantage of the therapeutic, mood-enhancing benefits of ordinary interactions with animals. But the key difference between animal-assisted therapy and similar uses of animals is it is geared toward a specific goal. For example, it may encourage alcoholics with low self-esteem to take a dog for a walk, teach it a new trick, or even just ensure it makes all its other appointments for the day. Even simple tasks like this can improve an individual’s confidence and self-efficacy.

Benefits of Animal-Assisted Therapy for Alcoholism

There are many plusses in choosing an alcohol rehab center that offers animal-assisted therapy, from general benefits to specific, goal-oriented outcomes. Some of the more important ones include:

  • Helping clients open up: Therapists, including Sigmund Freud, have recognized that the presence of an animal can make therapy sessions more fruitful. Most therapists notice people feeling comfortable much more quickly and sharing more in sessions when accompanied by an animal.
  • Eases anxiety and stress: The very act of petting an animal has an anxiety- and stress-reducing effect that can be hugely beneficial for people struggling with alcoholism. You lower the stress hormone cortisol by interacting with animals.
  • Boosts confidence: Caring for animals can be an amazing confidence-boosting experience. Even something as simple as taking a dog for a walk or looking after them for a short period can be hugely rewarding for people with alcoholism. Not only does it show the therapist puts trust in you, but it also gives you a sense of responsibility and proves you can handle that responsibility.
  • Improves client-therapist relationship: One study of animal-assisted therapy for people with addictions found that it improves the “therapeutic alliance” between the therapist and the client. Strengthening this bond makes all future sessions more fruitful and puts clients at ease.

Treatment Options at The Ranch PA

If animal-assisted therapy sounds like a good match, find an alcohol rehab center with a certified therapy dog. It might not seem particularly important to overcoming alcoholism, but the multitude of benefits makes all the difference. At The Ranch PA, we know clients need a variety of treatment options to heal. No one travels the same path to recovery. Therefore, we make sure to provide therapeutic options covering as many client needs as possible. Some of these include:

Finding ways to accommodate clients is one of our goals. We care about getting clients clean and setting them up for a lasting recovery. Thus, we make it a point to work with them. If this sounds like what you or a loved one needs, then contact us today at 717.969.9126.

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