Therapy comes in many forms. Boys who enjoy being around animals may benefit from the animal caretaking program at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery. Our program includes equine therapy, where participants learn how to feed, groom, saddle, and eventually ride the horses they care for.
If you think your teen would benefit from animal caretaking or any of the other alternative therapies we offer, call Foothills at Red Oak Recovery today for more information at 866.300.5275.
How Does Animal Caretaking Treatment Work?
Animal caretaking is an alternative therapy program that may be part of a teen’s overall treatment plan. According to the Annual Review of Public Health, studies have shown that being with animals can increase empathy levels, lower stress, and encourage teens to embrace responsibility as a positive trait.
Our program uses large animals like horses to help our adolescent clients create healthy habits and build on their ability to stay focused. In animal therapy, animals aren’t responsible for making people feel loved or for facilitating their healing. However, when a person makes an effort to bond with and care for an animal, that is often the result.
Animal caretaking provides an opportunity for boys to learn how to put the needs of another living being before their own. It also teaches teens the value of a routine. The needs of an animal must be taken care of regularly, or the animal may suffer.
The Benefits of Animal Caretaking
Depending on a person’s viewpoint, working with animals may be viewed as either a chore or a privilege. But animal caretaking is a practical therapeutic approach with measurable results.
Experiential therapies are overseen by a clinical team and may be used to gain insight into how a client thinks, behaves, and processes information. Not only can the teen benefit directly from animal caretaking treatment, but their therapist can also learn how to serve the teen more efficiently and adjust their treatment plan accordingly.
Caring for animals, large or small, offers many benefits, including the following.
1. Fresh Air and Exercise
Getting out of a therapist’s office and onto a campus filled with majestic trees, babbling streams, and beautiful green spaces helps put kids at ease. Animal caretaking requires some physical effort. It is a way to get the body moving and produce mood-stabilizing chemicals without formal exercise.
While caring for animals, teens actively engage in learning and experiencing. There is no pressure to talk about the sensitive topics they may encounter in a traditional therapy session. This can help them feel relaxed and open up at their own pace.
2. Provides Routine
Many teens who need treatment for addiction and other behavioral disorders lack a routine. Following a routine is an integral part of learning to avoid relapse and meet educational or personal goals.
Teens learn to feed, walk, groom, and care for the animal regularly. Being responsible for the well-being of other living things encourages boys to honor their commitments and respect the routine of caretaking.
3. Encourages Empathy
Boys may not have learned to nurture living things. Animal caretaking helps teen boys disengage from the pressure they feel from social media, peers, and family members. This helps them build emotional sensitivity, understand and build healthy boundaries, and discover new interests they did not know they had.
Making the Most of Animal Caretaking
Animal caretaking may be most effective when a treatment team combines it with other therapies. Some of the traditional approaches that make up the core of our treatment programs include:
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
- Individual therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
In addition to traditional modalities, animal caretaking is a valuable asset that helps teens in every aspect of their recovery.
Find Animal Caretaking at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery
Foothills at Red Oak Recovery offers comprehensive treatment for teenage boys who are struggling with addictions, such as process addictions, substance or alcohol use disorders, and other behavioral concerns. Call Foothills at Red Oak Recovery today for more information about animal caretaking treatment and how it can help your teen at 866.300.5275.