The New York Times recently wrote an article reporting on the surprising helpers brought in to help comfort those experiencing trauma or stress after the Orlando Shooting: therapy dogs. The K-9 Comfort Dogs team brought 12 golden retrievers to Orlando.
This is just one example of how therapy animals have helped relieve stress and deal with traumatic events. Recently, popularity for using therapy animals for teen trauma has increased; now, comfort dogs are often brought onto college campuses–even some high schools–during exams in order to help students de-stress.
Judgement-free and ‘unconditional love’ help teen trauma victims
“Dogs show unconditional love.” –Tim Hetzner, President of Charity which runs K-9 Comfort Dog unit
Dogs–and therapy animals in general–offer a unique relationship that is hard to find in peers and adults. The relationship provides a strong bond which is judgement-free and uncomplicated. Animals also have a way of offering up unconditional love with no questions asked, something many teen trauma victims desperately need. Studies have shown that animal therapy has the ability to improve teen trauma symptoms, especially in those who experienced childhood abuse. Also, it’s easy to see the effects of one’s actions when dealing with a therapy animal, which helps teens understand natural consequences and boundaries more clearly. It’s a way for a teen trauma victim to learn to build a positive relationship in a safe, healthy, and simple way.
Many types of animal therapies exist
Animal therapy isn’t isolated to just comfort dogs, it can be with cats, horses, rabbits, and more. Though therapy animals aren’t necessarily considered “service animals,” they can be pivotal in a teen trauma victim’s progress and success. Therapy dogs and horses are some of the most common animals used for animal therapy. The act of caring for these animals develops responsibility, relationship-building skills, respect, boundaries, and more.
Solstice East can help
Solstice East is a residential treatment center for girls, ages 14 to 18, grappling with depression, anxiety, teen trauma, and other emotional or behavioral problems. We strive to help our girls develop healthy habits for teens and lead themselves back onto a path of success and happiness.
For more information about how Solstice East treats teen trauma, please call 828-484-9946.