Behavioral Health Brief: Animal-Assisted Therapy and ART — A Picture-Perfect Combo
By Prairie Conlon
Social Work Today
Vol. 21 No. 3 P. 10
My client walks gingerly into the stable. “Hi Daisy,” he calls softly to the dark brown mare standing by a fence post. He reaches his hands out tentatively. I study his body language as the large animal approaches.
Daisy carefully observes my client, a veteran haunted by memories of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. Then she softens her eyes and moves her nose into his hand. “That’s a good girl,” says my client, stroking Daisy’s glossy neck. I see his shoulders lower and his body relax, connecting his mind and body as he focuses on the horse.
Later, my client and I head into my office to begin a session of Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), which enables people to free themselves from the physical and emotional burdens of PTSD. As we began a series of mindfulness exercises to help my client become aware of the tension he carries in his body, it becomes clear that the time with the horse enables him to tap into a deeper awareness and, ultimately, will lead him to find relief from PTSD.
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