Pet Friendly Teen Treatment
As many of us know and have experienced, pets can be amazingly comforting and encouraging to be around. For many people, pets are family members, and are loved and cared for as such. Being in the presence of pets can be especially comforting during emotionally difficult times, when we’re experiencing challenges and/or traumatic events that sometimes make it difficult to communicate and relate with others. To this end, we include animals in our teen treatment programs through our Equine Therapy and Animal Assisted therapy programs.
Advocates of AAT explain in theory what many of us already know, by experience: that the presence of animals can help people to feel comfortable and comforted. Animal-assisted treatment (AAT) is a form of treatment that involves animals, in order to help support and improve a teen’s mental, emotional, social, and/or cognitive functioning and recovery. Animals can help motivate and educate teens, as well as serve to break down barriers, and help teens to be more comfortable opening up and communicating with their therapists and peers. Animal Assisted Therapy is a widely respected therapeutic resource, and animals are used for a variety of positive benefits, in many different settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, schools, and prisons. During these groups and sessions, teens have the opportunity to interact with animals, therapists, and each other, and the benefits of these sessions are often very powerful, as well as very enjoyable, for teens involved.
Another aspect of our inclusion of animals in our teen treatment plans is our Equine Therapy program. Equine Therapy is a unique form of treatment where, led by a licensed Equine Therapist, teens get to interact and work with horses, in a therapeutic setting and context. Equine Therapy is a highly respected form of treatment and often a very powerful resource, especially in working with teens.
In addition to providing Equine Therapy and Animal Assisted Therapy sessions, we also provide opportunities for teens’ pets to visit them during their stay at Paradigm Malibu. Although by law, we’re prohibited from allowing animals to stay with teens at our treatment facility, we do allow and encourage pet visits during both family sessions and Family Day visits. Because we understand that pets are family members too, we’ve created this opportunity for teens to be with their pets, as a support to their overall treatment plans. We find that teens often feel encouraged, comforted, and joyful about getting to visit with their pets during these times, as well as motivated for the coming week. For teens that are in treatment at Paradigm Malibu and interested in having a pet visit during either a family session or Family Day visit, please contact us directly and we’ll work with you to arrange this special time.