Chances are there will be times throughout your child’s life when they will experience some sort of difficulty, whether it be in regard to learning, dealing with parental separation, grief, illness, emotional issues or something else. As a parent or caregiver, it can be hard to know where to turn. Thankfully in Brisbane we have a large range of services designed specifically to assist in dealing with such issues, with Animal-Assisted Therapy being one of them.
What is Animal-Assisted Therapy?
Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is a complementary form of therapy which uses animals as a form of treatment. This sort of therapy is particularly popular when working with children, especially those who love animals.
Animal-assisted therapy can be used to help those with Autism, behavioural issues, mental health illnesses as well as a variety of other medical conditions.
How Does Animal-Assisted Therapy Work?
Each practice will have their own unique way of integrating animal-assisted therapy into sessions depending on the client and therapy goals. Some common activities with the animals may include:
- Communicating feelings and thoughts
- Writing stories or creating artwork incorporating the animal
- Assisting with animal training and obedience
- General interaction between animal and child
What Animals Are Used?
One of the most common forms of animal-assisted therapy is canine-assisted therapy, which uses dogs, and equine-assisted therapy, which utilises horses. Other less common animals used in animal-assisted therapy include cats, birds and even pigs!
How Can Animal-Assisted Therapy Help?
Engaging in animal-assisted therapy can have many positive outcomes for the child in question. Of course, as with any type of treatment and therapy, results will vary from person to person, but it has been reported that AAT can improve:
- social skills
- communication skills
- blood pressure
- pain management
Considerations When Selecting Animal-Assisted Therapy
When selecting any kind of healthcare for you or your child it is important to research the practitioner you plan on utilising, paying close attention to their qualifications, practice and the skills they possess. When accessing AAT it is particularly important to investigate what specific animals are used and how they are used.
Where Can You Find Animal-Assisted Therapy in Brisbane?
Psychology and Animal Assisted Wellbeing (PAAW)
Based in Redcliffe, PAAW is a psychology practice which uses specially trained therapy dogs to provide AAT for children aged four years and older. Equine therapy is also available to some clients and is held at a property in Burpengary.
This private psychology practice in Strathpine provides canine (dog) therapy in a relaxed environment. AAT facilitates comfortable and safe opportunities for therapy, with the practice specialising in anxiety disorders, parenting issues, trauma, mood disorders and school refusal, just to name a few.
Julie, from Bluest Skies, provides counselling and animal-assisted for children (from the age of five), adolescents, families and adults, from her Eight Mile Plains office. Julie’s therapy dog is available to work with children and adults, depending on their suitability.
The Psych Professionals
With offices based in Loganholme and Capalaba, The Psych Professionals are a psychology private practice offering therapy dogs as part of their treatment plans for both children and adults.
Equine therapy is animal-assisted therapy involving horses. Some local businesses offering such services include:
“Each lesson, every interaction with the horse – is the road of discovery, the road to improvements in various areas for the kids and adults who otherwise have very limited opportunities to blossom, to open up in their emotions, to find new ways to adapt to the world around them.” They are based at Yeronga
Brisbane Equine Assisted Therapy
Based in the Moreton Bay Region, Equine Assisted Therapy and Psychology services for individuals and groups. They support NDIS self and plan-managed participants along with private referrals, and also work closely with local schools and charity organisations.
Horses in Mind
Based at Hemmant, Horses in Mind offer equine assisted learning as a tool for personal growth and development.
Equiliberty offers equine-assisted psychotherapy using the EAGALA model.
Other Animal Encounters
If you Brisbane Kid loves animals and would like to spend quality time patting and cuddling them, then why not head to one of the following places, where animal encounters are on offer.
- Collies and Co – Samford
- White Ridge Farm – Elimbah
- Trevena Glen Farm – Mt. Samson
- Lyell Deer Sanctuary – Mt. Samson
- Naughty Little Kids – Peak Crossing
- Haigslea EWE NIQUE Hobby Farm – Haigslea
For detailed reviews on the above places or to find more animal encounters in and around Brisbane click here