Therapy dog ​​helps patients in psychiatry

Therapy dog ​​helps patients in psychiatry


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Animal therapist: Joschi helps patients
10.02.2015

It has long been known that pets serve excellently as comforters and therapists. For example, dogs are used for therapeutic purposes for various diseases such as depression or dementia. Labrador Joschi now works as an animal therapist in a Berlin psychiatry.

Helpers on four paws Animals can have an enormously positive impact on human well-being. They have also been known for a long time as helpers on four paws. As the news agency dpa reports, the psychiatry of the Vivantes clinics in Berlin now has a therapy companion dog. The brown Labrador Joschi works there as an animal therapist, also in the closed department. When the dog wants to go to work in the morning, he puts his work clothes - a light tableware made of fabric - Annika Jänsch wagging his tail at the feet. As soon as the dog wears it, he knows that the job starts.

Team for animal-assisted therapies The 29-year-old occupational therapist Annika Jänsch works in the Wenckebach Clinic in the Tempelhof district. Together with Joschi, she completed an additional year of training in January and now has a certificate that the two are a team for animal-assisted therapies. The three-year-old dog had to learn a lot to work in psychiatry, especially serenity, no matter what happens. According to the dpa, he has good genes for this property, since his parents were both trained as therapy companion dogs at the Charité.

Only a few “animal therapists” in Berlin “animal therapists” are still the exception at Berlin clinics. Jansch said that there are only three such dogs at the nine Vivantes clinics. However, the effect that can be achieved by the four-legged friends is already well known from retirement homes or dementia communities. There they are a welcome change for patients and improve the mood. Ms. Jänsch has already chosen Joschi as a puppy because she found the therapy concept convincing for psychiatry as well: With his dog's eye, Joschi can reach people who otherwise do not like to maintain contacts. In exceptional cases, he may even lie on the bed and cuddle up to patients who have no one else. As the therapist announced, the clinic supported her idea from the start.

Unusual behavior does not deter the dog. Just housebroken, Joschi groped through the hallways at the age of four months and got used to hospital beds, wheelchairs, crutches and the different smells and noises in a hospital. Joschi "works" - unlike guide dogs that are shaped by owners or mistresses - with all people who want it. "He has a seventh sense for that," says Jänsch. The Labrador is said to be considerate of people who looked tense or anxious. On the other hand, schizophrenic or depressed patients who like dogs or a rather unusual behavior of patients did not frighten him. The offer of playing with the dog, petting it or just looking at it applies to all patients in the open and closed psychiatric wards. The therapist can hardly save herself from inquiries. The geriatrics has also reported, but Joschi is said to be there for the mentally ill. The dog enjoys the end of his working day when Jänsch takes off his harness in the evening. She said: "He is often completely knocked out."

Dogs are good for human health For health reasons, there are many more good reasons to surround yourself with dogs. The four-legged friends are ideal movement trainers, as health experts believe. Since dog owners are automatically required to exercise a minimum amount, this statistically reduces their risk of high blood pressure and thus of a heart attack or stroke. In addition, dealing with animals reduces stress and fear. But dogs can do much more. Studies have shown that they can sometimes sniff out lung or colon cancer. Specially trained diabetic warning dogs can also detect hypoglycemia in people with diabetes. (ad)

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Video: The Benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy for Psychiatric Patients


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