Furry Therapists: Animal-Assisted Therapy Workshop Hosted by Willowbrooke at Tanner
Posted Date: 11/7/2012
Many already know the healing power of a pet. They seem to know, almost instinctively, when something’s wrong, curling up in a lap or offering a sympathetic paw.
For people facing behavioral health problems, like depression or life after a traumatic event, animal-assisted therapy can be a significant treatment option in helping them return to a healthy life.
Carrie King-Bussard, MA, LPC, left, a licensed professional counselor certified in animal-assisted therapy with Animal-Assisted Counseling of Colorado, talks with Melanie Lockwood, an assessment counselor with Willowbrooke at Tanner, about her 18-month-old yellow lab-husky mix Payton.
This past weekend, Nov. 3-4, Willowbrooke at Tanner hosted an animal-assisted therapy workshop for therapists, counselors and others in the education classroom of its inpatient facility in Villa Rica.
“Therapy takes many forms,” said Paula Gresham, associate administrator of Willowbrooke at Tanner. “We all do things that have therapeutic benefits: gardening, painting, etc. Animal-assisted therapy, when conducted by a trained therapist, has a number of benefits, from increasing self esteem to having a calming, soothing influence; some of the same reasons many of us have pets at home. That’s why it’s important to have these resources available in a treatment setting.”
The course was led by Carrie King-Bussard, MA, LPC, a licensed professional counselor who is certified in animal-assisted therapy activities and learning (ATT) and who has more than 13 years of experience in working with canines as co-therapists.
King-Brussard led almost 30 participants in two days of discussions on the ethics of animal-assisted therapy, training methods, history of animal-assisted therapy and more. Willowbrooke at Tanner currently has five staff members certified in animal-assisted therapy along with their canine companions.
The seminar was one of many that Willowbrooke at Tanner has hosted during the past few years, with speakers as diverse as experts on psychotropic medications to law enforcement officials discussing how to keep adolescents safe. Many of the seminars provide continuing education credits for various behavioral and healthcare professionals.
To register for this and future seminars, visit www.WillowbrookeAtTanner.org. More information is available at 770.456.3342.