Animal-assisted therapy is a great form of therapy that allows your pet to help you process and navigate tough situations and information. Family therapy can be difficult – just because you’re with other people doesn’t mean you don’t feel alone. Bringing your dog to therapy can help you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Can Dogs Relieve Stress?
Your dog can act as natural stress relief for you. Whether you use animal-assisted therapy or just like to have your pet around, you’ll reap the benefits of being near an animal. Dogs can lower your blood pressure just by being around you – they’re great stress relievers. Being near your dog is good for your heart, too, as you may end up with a lessened risk of heart disease by being together.
Dogs are goofy animals. They’ll end up doing something silly that will make you smile and laugh, which can lead to stress relief. When you feel like you don’t have a reason to smile, you can always sit back and watch your dog get into their typical antics. They’re bound to get you laughing and feeling better in no time. It helps to break up some of the tension during your therapy session if your dog does something silly. Animals provide a welcome break from the hassles of life and challenging conversations.
Animal-assisted therapy isn’t new. Often, people who go through therapy with animals feel more confident in themselves and are more willing to talk about what they’ve been through, a therapeutic practice that can help them heal from trauma. If you think it’s a good idea to bring your dog to therapy, make sure to ask your therapist if you can. You can benefit from it in more ways than you know.
Why You Should Bring a Pet to Family Therapy
You can bring a dog to therapy as long as your therapist says it’s OK. Just being with your family doesn’t negate the need for your dog. Family therapy is used for a variety of issues. It helps a family work through difficulties or navigate changes, such as divorce, without placing the blame on any one individual.
Your dog might be the familiar face you need while trying to process grief or difficult information. Plus, they can benefit you in several ways.
1. They Can Remind You to Breathe
Something about dogs is so calming. Just having them nearby can give you a sense of calmness, especially if you’re attached to your dog. Including your dog in family therapy can help you feel at ease – and remind you to breathe. Your dog will likely be by your side the entire session, in case you need them.
Completing breathwork is one of the best ways to ease anxiety symptoms. And when you take note of how comfortably your dog breathes, you may try to mimic their behavior. Above all, they create an environment of calmness that can help you pick up on the emotion and adapt accordingly.
2. More Time With Your Dog
Since screen time can be linked to symptoms of depression and high blood pressure, it might be for the best to stay active and spend time with your pets, away from devices. You typically aren’t staring at screens during your therapy sessions, but you may still need something to keep you grounded in the present moment.
Bringing your dog to animal-assisted therapy sessions can help you spend more time with them while making the most of your therapy sessions. In a busy world, with work and school, you may not get to be around your dog as much as you’d like. Having your dog with you can keep you calm in an otherwise tense situation.
3. An Easy Stress Relief
When in family therapy, you’re bound to experience a lot of new things. Certain routines might be changing at home, or the dynamics of your family may differ from what they used to be. Learning to navigate and manage the new emotions you’ll feel can be stressful.
Many people fear change because it comes from the unknown, but having your dog with you can help you feel more secure in these difficult situations. While they may not be able to understand everything that goes on in therapy, they’ll know when you need comfort and relief from excess stress.
Can I Bring My Dog to Therapy?
Family therapy is a great place for families to have difficult discussions or adapt to major changes. While it might seem daunting at first, you’ll get the hang of the sessions and hopefully come out feeling stronger and more confident.
If you need extra help, lean toward animal-assisted therapy and bring your pet along. You can bring your dog to therapy as long as your therapist says it’s OK. That way, you can feel totally comfortable and spend time with your favorite pet all at once.