icon caret-left icon caret-right instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads question-circle facebook circle twitter circle linkedin circle instagram circle goodreads circle pinterest circle

Creating a Mutually Therapeutic Relationship with Your Dog

Not so very long ago, even the title of this post would have raised eyebrows in professional circles. Times have changed in very positive ways, however, and for the better. My article on animal assisted therapy will soon be published in “Currents” the publication of the Philadelphia Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology, and other publications including the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have run pieces on the subject.

What I am proposing here goes beyond animal-assisted therapy, it goes beyond therapist’s having dogs in their offices. Rather, it speaks to the nature of a person’s relationship with his or her dog and the potential for that relationship to be healing and to promote growth for both partners in the relationship.

All this rests on the assumption that dogs are different from other animals, that they have been living with people longer than other animals, that they form bonds with people differently from the way that other animals do, and that the bond is as important to them as it is to humans. It happens that all of these assumptions are true, and that there is empirical support for each of them.

These considerations are what make a truly reciprocal relationship between person and dog possible, and they are what makes the possibility of that relationship being therapeutic possible. In my next post, I’ll talk about what makes a relationship therapeutic.
Be the first to comment