What is TheraTails?
TheraTails is an animal-assisted therapy (AAT) program; the first of its kind in Bermuda. We work with animals to facilitate engagement in therapeutic contact and trust-building. The transdisciplinary program is designed and run by a clinical psychologist and animal therapists, working together with the shelter animals.
Who Might Benefit?
We accept all ages of client, either as individuals or in groups. AAT can be beneficial when clients are non-verbal or find traditional talking therapies too intimidating, for whatever reasons. Clients with relational and social issues also find AAT helpful. Our clinical psychologist has a background in forensic animal-assisted therapy so we are able to engage the most challenging of clients, including those with intellectual disabilities or neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and ADHD. There is also evidence that AAT benefits those with addiction issues; those with eating disorders; and those who have suffered traumatic experiences. AAT is also an excellent introduction to psychological therapy as it helps to build trust and allows clients to develop the skills and confidence to engage in other forms of psychotherapy.
What Do We Actually Offer ?
Run by Kate Terceira and Dr Laura Henagulph, who are trained and certified in the Eagala Model. This type of therapy uses psychodynamic theory to interpret the interactions between the horse and the client. We first allow the client/s to get to know the horse and experience grooming and caring for the animal. We then set simple exercises that require reflection and communication between human and animal. This creates a quiet, undemanding therapeutic space. The client is welcome to speak or to remain silent. Usually, we see strong themes appear fairly quickly and continue from week to week. We are then able to offer our thoughts to the client for discussion afterwards.
This type of therapy takes one hour. It can be done individually or in small groups (the therapy is useful for families). The therapy takes place on site in the SPCA stable and a private paddock.
ANIMAL-ASSISTED MENTALISATION-BASED THERAPY
Run by Eileen Thorne and Dr Laura Henagulph. The overarching task of the sessions is to help socialise the animals. We can do this slowly and incrementally, or more actively, through clicker training. Mentalisation-based Therapy (MBT) is a type of therapy focused on what is happening in the present. We seek to make thoughts, feelings and intentions clear and explicit. We do this by talking with the client about the interactions taking place and thinking about the assumptions and misinterpretations that may be happening. For instance, a client may be puzzled by an animal’s sudden withdrawal; we then discuss in detail what was happening at the time and what might have been going on in the animal’s mind. This helps with perspective-taking and lowers impulsive reactions in social situations.
This type of therapy takes one hour. It can be done individually or in small groups. The therapy can take place on site with a range of animals to interact with; or we can visit your home or facility with a therapy animal, usually a small dog. This type of therapy can also function as an extended assessment: children, adolescents and adults who work particularly well with the animals can be referred on for more intensive individual work.
We are very excited to be able to offer this programme and thank our sponsor Third Point Re for their generous support.
Due to their support we are now able to offer all the above sessions (including the animal, the location if required and two therapists) for a substantial discount. Each session will
cost $150 per hour.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT
- TheraTails: Animals for therapy right here, right nowShelters all over the world have seen a rise in animal adoptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Why? This article outlines some of the reasons: emotional support, the need for touch and the desire to care for another creature. All of these are especially valuable when we’re in isolation. Interacting with an animal can help with anxiety, lowering your heart rate, blood pressure and cortisol levels while increasing your feel-good dopamine.
- Transforming Therapy through Horses: Reflections on the Eagala 20/20 ConferenceWatching sessions in the arena, I was struck by the tremendous energy, both physical and emotional, that was unleashed. At first, I did not really grasp what was happening. There was a lot of movement among the horses, some gentle commentary and suddenly the volunteer ‘clients’ were talking […]