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Animal Assisted Therapy

Animal-assisted Therapy (AAT) may be provided for interested individuals.  Bonnie, Matthew's therapy dog, often co-facilitates sessions and tends to accompany him two to three days a week. Whether actively engaged in treatment goals or simply providing emotional support, Bonnie provides a calm, non-judgmental presence in sessions. AAT can assist in developing communication skills, pro-social community interactions, reading non-verbal cues and body language, establishing and maintaining boundaries, building empathy, and developing skills regarding consent.

It should be noted that inclusion of AAT in treatment is dependent on several factors, including each client's personal history with animals, safety concerns, allergies, and Bonnie's personal schedule. Individuals wishing to potentially engage in AAT will be assessed for suitability by their clinician. Due to scheduling and other potential issues, Collaborative Services for Change cannot guarantee that Bonnie will attend all desired sessions. It must be noted that she is an autonomous, living creature with her own needs and desires; all clinicians take the utmost care to ensure that her personal safety and meeting her needs are some of our greatest priorities.

Most recently, Collaborative Services for Change has partnered to provide Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) services on grounds at the Zoology Foundation in Larkspur, Colorado.  One hundred and forty animals have been rescued and thrive in this scenic animal sanctuary. Based on a community service model when working with these animals, clients can develop social recognition skills, and strengthen both compassion and reciprocity through their human-animal connection. Individual counseling as well as group volunteer projects are currently running in this newly developed program.

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