Animal Assisted Therapy in Madison, WI
Animal-assisted therapy involves animals as an adjunctive component of treatment. A therapist who has a pet in the office may be less threatening, particularly to children or vulnerable adults. This can help to build rapport and a sense of safety. Dr. Theodore McTubbins (Theo), Westside’s senior therapy dog, is trained to provide affection and comfort. Theo brings a fresh perspective to everything. Working with Ben Heinrichs, LPC, Theo brings levity and curiosity to every encounter. Marsha, working with Ashley Hartwell, MS, has the distinction of being a Dachshund who loves everyone. She is always looking for a warm lap. Jason Levine works with Bug, who is always upbeat and interested, and Rebecca Mahan Strupp is sometimes accompanied by Belle, the sweetest Shepherd you will ever meet.
Only present when the client agrees, therapy dogs have been found to have calming effects on humans, activating the parasympathetic nervous system, resulting in lower blood pressure and heart rate. When discussing difficult emotions, clients report feeling comforted by the presence of a calm affectionate, furry companion.