Beginning a teen drug rehab or alcohol treatment program can feel intimidating to anyone, especially a young person. And while we go out of our way to make every client feel at home at Safe Landing, sometimes teens need a little extra reassurance. That’s why we integrate animal-assisted therapy into our residential inpatient, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and aftercare programs for teens.
Spending time with animals can help people feel more calm, reducing feelings of anxiety, depression and aggression. While animal-assisted therapy can include a wide variety of animals — including birds, rabbits, horses and even dolphins. Dogs are an especially popular choice to use in therapy for those with addiction and substance abuse disorders.
Studies show that interacting with a dog can even reduce levels of pain and pain-related symptoms, and dogs are often used in hospitals and rehab settings to comfort clients of all ages. Petting and interacting with a friendly dog causes the brain to release endorphins, oxytocin, and serotonin, which in turn create a sense of happiness and wellbeing. Meanwhile, many people naturally relax in the presence of a dog, which can be especially helpful for communicating in therapy. In fact, studies indicate that when clinicians bring dogs into drug and alcohol rehab centers, they’re able to achieve stronger emotional connections with their clients.
Mantquilla is our primary therapy dog at Safe Landing, but we call her “Quilla” for short. (That’s pronounced like “Kia”). Born in the spring of 2019, Quilla is an F1B goldendoodle, which means she’s hypoallergenic. She’s a certified therapy dog, and has worked at Safe Landing since she was a puppy. In her role as our primary therapy dog, she provides emotional support and snuggles whenever they’re needed. Quilla is just as comfortable sitting in psychotherapy sessions as she is romping outdoors. She’s sure to be your teen’s favorite member of the team, and she can’t wait to meet you, too.