Mental Health

Self Improvement


Mandy Kloppers

Animals and Therapy



Animal assisted therapy

I have always loved animals and feel so happy and relaxed around them. There is something very safe and secure about a relationship with an animal. They love you no matter what, never notice your faults and they are always happy to see you.
That in itself is a big bonus in a world where many people are out for themselves and have hidden agendas.
Amy McCullough, who is the American Humane Association’s National Animal-Assisted Therapy Director, worked as a volunteer with her dog Bailey for nine years at an inpatient psychiatric hospital. She discovered an increase in patient participation in group therapy and changes in patient behaviour. She also found that practical skills such as hygiene and self care could be addressed more easily.
Cynthia Chandler, Ed.D, a counselling professor at the University of North Texas cites one study that showed a significant drop in stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline as well as an increase in positive hormones such as oxytocin and dopamine after 20 minutes of contact with an animal. Oxytocin lowers blood pressure and the oxytocin affect is undeniable.
Animals have also helped in behavioural improvements in children and a reduction in depression for the elderly with dementia.
It makes sense to me.I can’t wait to get a dog…as soon as circumstances allow, I will be looking for a miniature Yorkie and hopefully a significant increase in my oxytocin levels!
Mandy X

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The author of this blog lives in Surrey, UK and offers counselling to couples and individuals. All names have been changed to protect the identity of clients. Personal client stories shared in this blog have been published with prior permission from the relevant clients.