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Animal-Assisted Counseling with Deuce

AAC is a process in which a trained therapy animal works in partnership with a mental health practitioner to help clients resolve psychosocial difficulties and achieve growth using experiential and expressive techniques.

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How do you know if AAC is right for you?  It is important to know the potential benefits and possible risks associated with AAC, so you can make a well-informed decision.  

AAC is utilized in counseling when the animal is part of working toward a client's clinical goals.  This can be achieved by involving the therapy animal in interventions, such as the client teaching the therapy animal new skills, or the therapy animal providing comfort and support when the client is sharing something personal or challenging.

Possible benefits of AAC include decreasing depression and anxiety (Hartwig, 2017); increasing positive social behaviors and decreasing disruptive behaviors (Hartwig, 2017); enhancing psychological health (Fine, 2019); increasing client motivation to participate in counseling and sense of safety (Lange, Cox, Bernert, & Jenkins, 2006/2007); and helping clients regulate their bodies and emotions.

Potential risks are mitigated through extensive and rigorous training and testing for AAC practitioners and their animal partners. You will be asked to share experience with animals, if there are any allergies, fears, etc.  Just as clients always have a choice whether to participate in interventions, Deuce will have that choice too.

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