Canine Therapy at Treverbyn
As a Social, Emotional & Mental Health practitioner at Treverbyn Academy, Helen Craig’s working week is always a busy one, offering invaluable support to children aged 4 to 11 years, who may need an extra helping hand. Thrive, HeadStart and Trauma Informed Schools (TIS) trained, Helen has an additional trick up her sleeve and it comes in the guise of an adorably fluffy, four-legged Maltese dog, appropriately named Joy.
Research and anecdotal evidence demonstrates that interacting with animals physically, psychologically and emotionally is beneficial to all, regardless of age. For a child, the therapeutic benefits gained through this timeless human-animal bond are priceless. Animal assisted therapy breaks down barriers between adult and child by positioning the animal as the ‘third person in the room’. The unconditional trust and love that a dog will demonstrate, no strings attached, can bring comfort, love and understanding to a child who may have experienced social, emotional or mental trauma.
Helen trained in animal assisted therapy last summer with HumAnima, a social enterprise counselling organisation based in the west Midlands, and purchased Joy whose breed ensures the perfect placid temperament required for such an important job.
Joy currently works with Helen two days a week and since the beginning of 2018 has become part of the furniture at Treverbyn Academy. In the school’s well-equipped and uplifting ‘Wellbeing Room’, Joy is a calming presence, taking the lead and instantly empathic to the child’s mood. Helen is there to guide, to chat and to initiate engaging and fun activities, but if a child simply wants to curl up on the cosy cushions and stroke Joy’s ears, then her canine partner is more than happy to oblige!
As part of a Trust that champions emotional and mental health and wellbeing; it is hoped that the incredible work Helen and Joy are doing at Treverbyn Academy may eventually be replicated across some of Aspire’s other 24 schools.