After careful thought and positive client responses, I have added Sigmund to my full time practice. He is a German Shepherd who started doing the work as a warm, supportive and loving assistant from the time he was a puppy. He took to the profession naturally and by three months old instinctively knew how to welcome clients and then leave them to do their work, only coming back to their side if he sensed someone needed a bit of "fur therapy."
Studies have consistently shown the positive effects of animals on people's physical and mental health. They lower blood pressure, reduce anxiety, and lead to the release of oxytocin, the brain's feel-good bonding hormone. Animals have been shown to be highly effective in working with people in ways that avoid the difficulties of verbal communication or even human expectations. While it is only somewhat recently that this practice has been acknowledged in the areas of service, emotional support, and therapy animals, it turns out Sigmund Freud used his dog, Jofi, regularly as a therapy assist. He started the practice out of his own desire to have his dog close as it helped him to relax. He quickly discovered that it helped his clients to feel more secure as well.
Even people who don't identify as "dog people" have fallen in love with Sigmund. However, I realize that there may be those that due to allergies or other concerns may not want this to be a part of their therapy. Remember, therapy is about a comfortable match for you so if you believe this wouldn't work, feel free to contact me to either discuss it or ask for non-canine referrals.
And if you are opting for teletherapy, you won't get Sigmund but don't be surprised if Pippi (the cat) shows up.
And Sigmund now.
And then there's Pippi.