Many people find solace and healing in spending time with animals. In fact, research shows that spending time with certain animals can reduce stress, relieve symptoms of depression, and more. This is why animal assisted therapy is practiced in so many healing environments.
We employ this proven method of healing here at Trinity Teen. Our 4,000 acre healing ranch is host to many animals, including dogs, cats, horses, cows, and pigs. Through animal assisted therapy at our ranch, teen girls can strengthen communication skills, examine their life relationships, reassess their own behaviors, and more.
Here are some of the many benefits that at-risk girls can gain from engaging in animal assisted therapy.
The presence of animals alone can reduce stress, which is a major trigger for negative mental health symptoms. Engaging in friendly animal talk, for example, is proven to lower blood pressure. The very act of petting an animal, meanwhile, engages you in a type of touch therapy that other therapeutic approaches simply cannot offer. Petting an animal also releases feel-good endorphins.
Relieve psychological symptoms.
Individuals who suffer from depression, anxiety, trauma, and other mental health disorders, in particular, can benefit from animal therapy. Animal therapy is proven to relieve symptoms of many mental health disorders. This is likely due in part to how animals display unquestioned loyalty, returned affection, and lack of judgment. Animals help those suffering from psychological symptoms feel more connected, which ultimately helps them feel more engaged in their treatment.
Develop social skills.
It may seem odd that interacting with animals can help you improve interpersonal social skills, but research proves it. According to the National Institutes of Health, animals can help relieve social isolation and improve social behaviors. This is because spending time with animals often stirs an internal desire to connect with others. You do not feel pressured to rely on verbal skills around animals, and you feel free to interact without fear of judgment.
Strengthen human relationships.
You can strengthen human relationships by spending time with animals as well. Again, interacting with animals stirs an internal desire to connect with others. Moreover, interacting with animals such as dogs and horses showcases very clearly how to build, maintain, and foster trust in relationships. Through interacting with animals, you can pick up on social cues and communication techniques that will help you strengthen the relationships you have with other people. This can prove invaluable for at-risk girls, who need family members, friends, and an overall strong support system to help them through life’s battles.