As many people already know, pets can provide an incredible sense of comfort and companionship, especially during difficult times. For many people, pets are loved as part of the family and included as such. Many times, when teens are struggling with mental health and/or substance abuse disorders, they tend to feel disconnected from other people and it can be hard for them to relate to others. Because we value the unique, poignant comfort that pets can offer to teens during this time, we provide pet friendly treatment, including Equine Therapy and Animal Assisted therapy programs.
Animal Assisted Therapy
This is a pet friendly treatment modality that involves animals as a way of providing support to teens in treatment, and aiding in teens’ emotional, mental, physical, social, and/or cognitive functioning and recovery. In the therapeutic context, time spent with animals can help to provide comfort, help teens feel comfortable opening up, improve teens’ willingness to communicate with others; break down barriers between teens and therapists as well as teens and peers; and decrease negative symptoms, such as stress and anxiety. Animal Assisted Therapy is a highly respected resource implemented in a growing number of therapeutic and health care settings, including but not limited to: nursing homes, schools, prisons, hospitals, and medical health centers. Here at Paradigm San Francisco, Animal Assisted Therapy has proven to be both therapeutically beneficial as well as greatly enjoyed by teens.
We also offer Equine Therapy, which is a treatment modality in which teens work directly with horses, as led by our professional licensed Equine therapist. During Equine Therapy sessions, the therapist leads teens through different activities with the horses, including the following:
- brushing the horses
- petting the horses
- other forms of interaction
Equine Therapy is a wonderful therapeutic opportunity that often helps teens to feel less stressed, more open and accessible, and even accepted.
In addition to Animal Assisted Therapy sessions and our Equine Therapy program, our pet friendly treatment facility also allows teens the opportunity for pets to visit them here at Paradigm San Francisco. Though animals are prohibited by law from staying at our treatment facility for longer stays, we do allow pets to visit the house, on Family Day visits. These special days have proven to be comforting, meaningful, bright days for teens here at Paradigm San Francisco.