Holistic drug treatment provides those who are struggling with substance abuse different options to help them understand and move past their addiction. The therapies and other programs these treatment centers provide not only addresses the physical aspects of their addiction, it also help address the psychological and spiritual aspects of their disease. When the mind, body, and spirit are aligned, those new in recovery discover harmony and balance in their lives, and lifelong recovery becomes a reality. One of the most effective–and most popular–holistic therapies that are offered is animal-assisted therapy.
What is Animal-Assisted Therapy?
Animal-assisted therapy is extremely versatile and can be applied to a variety of treatment situations. In drug treatment, this form of therapy is utilized by treatment staff to help clients rebuild relationship and nurture trust. With animal-based treatment programs, clients will be led through a series of exercises in which clients interact with animals and will take part in their care and well-being. The ultimate goal of animal therapy in drug treatment is to help the addict rediscover the beauty of their inner selves.
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When people have been addicted to drugs and alcohol for a prolonged period of time, it can diminish a person’s ability to look beyond themselves and focus on the needs of the family, friends and other acquaintances. As a result, the addicts lack the necessary skills to form and maintain meaningful relationships with others. Animals are empathetic creatures and can mirror what we feel, and when we work with animals in a therapeutic setting we begin to uncover a deeper meaning and purpose in our lives.
What Type Of Animal Therapy is Available in Drug Treatment?
In holistic drug treatment, there are two main types of animal therapy that can be utilized by treatment staff: equine therapy and animal/pet therapy. While the overall goals are the same, both types of animal therapy have some subtle differences as far as how treatment is approached. It is important to take a closer look at both types of animal-assisted therapy to see how each helps the addict overcome addiction and uncover their true, nurturing selves.
Commonly known as horse therapy, equine therapy allows clients to work with horses on a daily basis. With the combination of regular exercises and care and the inherently gentle nature of the horses themselves, equine therapy helps those new in recovery restore and rebuild their mind and spirit which were damaged in their active drug addiction. It is believed when individuals work with horses and start to form bonds with them, the animal is a “blank slate” and has no pre-conceived notions about the recovering addict.
In holistic drug treatment, equine therapy is seen as an important tool in the addiction recovery process. This type of therapy is extremely effective in re-teaching responsibility and brings about introspective thoughts and behaviors in the addict. As mentioned earlier, individuals who take part in this form of animal-assisted therapy will benefit greatly from the new sense of responsibility and empowerment. Additionally–and equally as important–equine therapy replaces drug use with an activity is that more positive and healthy.
During the drug rehabilitation process, those who struggle with the addiction simply need something to help take their mind off the often times stressful world of drug treatment. Equine therapy provides a soothing, fulfilling way to calm oneself and put focus onto something else.
The other form of animal-assisted therapy that can help addict heal is pet therapy. Common types of animals that can use utilized in this form of animal therapy are dogs, cats, and even birds. As with equine therapy, pet therapy involves clients working with various animals in a set of guided exercises which revolve around the general care and overall maintenance of a pet’s overall health and well-being. The obvious benefits of pet therapy include exercise, companionship, and unconditional loyalty. Additionally, this type of animal therapy offers patients warmth, familiarity, and a benign and comforting reminder of their life before rehab.
Much like equine therapy, patients can reacquaint themselves with the important concepts of selflessness and nurturing that were lost during their time in active addiction. By integrating pets into the structure of addiction treatment, it makes those new in recovery responsible for a life other than their own. There are a growing number of treatment centers that are allowing those in recovery who are pet owners to bring their pets into a treatment setting.
Perhaps the Greatest Benefit of Animal-Assisted Therapy
With all the benefits that animal-assisted therapy provides the client in the recovery process, perhaps the biggest benefit of this form of therapy centers of the animals themselves. Many pets that are used in animal therapy are adopted out of shelters and have been trained to become therapy animals. In the case of the horses that are used in this type of therapy, they are often retired thoroughbreds or workhorses who are given the chance to do positive work in their later years. In many ways, the animals used in this therapy may get the same benefits as those in recovery.
Experience the Benefits of Animal-Assisted Therapy at FindAddictionRehabs.com
Throughout the ages, pets and other animals have provided humans with companionship and they give us a sense of calm, safety and security. With FindAddictionRehabs.com’ Animal-Assisted Therapy program, you will be able to work through your anxiety, loneliness, depression, and guilt and come to rediscover the nurturer inside of you. Whether in one-on-one or group settings, our animal assisted therapy programs are effective, proven to work and led by a team of experienced and compassionate treatment staff. Call us today and find out how animal therapy can lead to a healthier and happier you.
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