While there is no doubt about the influence of animals and their effect on
people, I'm wondering if the 'therapy animal' thing is going to
go too far. More and more you see abled people getting into public places
with animals because they're for therapy purposes. A well behaved labrador
is one thing; we're into rabbits, goats and the like apparently, too. I
hope not to see a therapy horse next time I'm at the mall.
As a horse owner, there is nothing more soothing to me than just going up and
brushing one of the horses I own. There is something so calming about the quiet
of the barn and the repetitiveness. Always a listening ear.
I am finishing up my master's degree in social work and graduate in just
under two months with an MSW. It blows my mind that any reputable therapist
would make a claim that, there is no evidence to suggest that animal-assisted
(equine) therapy is any more beneficial than just allowing time to lapse. I am
living proof of the benefits of equine therapy. In fact, I found it SO
therapeutic that I am now directing my own practice in that direction. I found
discovered a substantial amount of research on the benefits of animal-assisted
therapy. It is available through any major universities database. This is not
a new idea. Both Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud used to bring their dogs into
sessions with them and realized the benefits of the animals being in session.
No, there is no lack of research on this form of therapy.
One of my close friends is an equine therapist provider in central Utah. Does
great things for troubled youth, etc. She uses some of the same
techniques when my kids visit. It's a great thing.