Psychotherapy And Counseling For Trauma

 

Source: reviewjournal.com

 

Counselors and psychotherapists are experienced at hearing people out and provide them significant help in dealing with trauma and how it has affected the lives of those who have gone through it. Among the most relevant areas of trauma is acknowledging that life for these trauma victims has changed, and their previous ways of viewing the world often do not seem to be as meaningful anymore. Sometimes, they need to think twice or thrice about how they will live their lives and what is most vital.

Speaking with a counselor or psychotherapist can be very beneficial. These may offer answers and suggestions for managing certain problems and issues that they may be going through.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The emphasis of CBT is on recognizing the damaging beliefs and expectations and repairing them through restructuring, meaning that striving to aid people can think differently and learn new and positive meanings. CBT that is focused on trauma attempts to modify difficult meanings of the sad experiences, like, “What happened to me proved that I am useless, insecure, and corrupt. There no one I can trust,” and modifying challenging coping mechanisms, like ruminating on unpleasant outcomes, entertaining threats, and thought suppression.

CBT is performed over a brief time, typically between 8 and 12 sessions for a span of months. It is a dynamic type of therapy targeted at helping people learn ways to face and gradually get over their anxiety, fear, and depression. Strategies include journaling, challenging stressful thoughts, and facing feared circumstances in a safe space.

Medication

People who have anxiety, mood changes, or panic episodes are commonly prescribed medications in conjunction with talk therapy or counseling. In these circumstances, the therapist or counselor could suggest that trauma victims talk with their primary care physician about the possibility of taking antidepressants or other forms of medication. Some individuals find relief in taking them, but not everyone, though. They must talk with their counselor or physician.

In many cases, mental health help is necessary for these victims to recover from the devastating experiences. Medication is always considered at some point in the counseling, particularly if additional help is needed.

Trauma In Children

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Kids, adolescents, and teens may also go through trauma and developmental health conditions. They could present with the same reactions as adults, but there are distinctions. For younger kids, repetitive play can be done where themes associated with the event are acted out. There could be a relapse of behaviors that are common when the victim was younger. Adults need to be careful to listen to their kids and monitor what they do because they might not be capable of verbally expressing their emotions and the challenges that they are experiencing. Other means that trauma is presented in younger kids is by:

  • Temper or aggression problems at preschool
  • Fear of loneliness, of the dark, and monsters become worse
  • Hyperactivity or being extremely energetic
  • Somatization (complaining of headaches or stomach problems)
  • A combination of all symptoms mentioned above

Below are some self-help strategies that might help alleviate the anxiety, stress, and sadness you face following the traumatic experience.

  • Take time for yourself so that you can deal with your emotions or thoughts. Sometimes, though, you may need to reach out to your family or close friends to feel less lonely.
  • Stay active. Exercise is vital for your mind and body, as these two are intimately connected. However, it is unhealthy to be obsessed with exercise and overdo it, as often exercise masks coping challenges.
  • Facing the aftermath of the trauma. Confronting the pain and misery of what happened could help you accept and come to terms with the traumatic experience.
  • Receiving help and support from others. Getting help from other people is very beneficial. You may try to be strong, but sometimes it helps if someone provides you with the support and encouragement you need. Talking to family, friends, and significant others and being with them takes a major load off of your shoulders – and your mind.
  • Find ways to deal with your emotions. Learn relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga to help you calm down when you have bouts of anxiety or panic attacks.
  • Express how you feel. Find time to recall the experience by yourself and then with others. Lean on your family and significant others and share your sadness with them. People of all ages require opportunities to let go of their feelings through storytelling and role-playing, among others.

Source:childandfamilymentalhealth.com

Final Thoughts

In the aftermath of a devastating event, it is typical for people to be depressed and bothered by recollections of what occurred and to feel awkward and guarded. Some people’s miseries progress for months, leading them or their families to seek help from a therapist or counselor. These professionals utilize a range of methods that may or may not be done uniformly. Nevertheless, they have the same goals: to help these troubled souls regain their self-worth, self-esteem, and self-respect to continue living life with hope and positivity.

 

 

What Counselors Say About Animal-Assisted Therapy

 

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The connection between animals and people is formidable, and the constructive link between mental health and pets is undisputable. Adults, adolescents, children, and the elderly all find happiness in their pets. Thus, mental health and pets go together.

Additionally, research has proven the benefits of pets for improving one’s mental health. Numerous scientific researches have recognized the benefits of having a dog, cat, or even a hamster. Animals indeed help with anxiety, stress, and depression. Furthermore, they offer company and alleviate loneliness. Finally, pets add delight and absolute love.

Animal-Assisted Therapy

Experts have learned a lot more regarding the link between mental health and pets for the past years. Because of this, animal-assisted therapy plans have become a significant aspect of mental health management. Also, people benefit from having mental health pets, like an emotional support dog.

During the 90s, mental health programs for teenagers have integrated equine therapy. This type of therapy dynamically utilizes horses in their treatments. The horse-human bond permits teenagers to express their issues and emotions. They do this by using an effective and personal knowledge of nonverbal communication.   But we can take advantage of pet therapy daily in the comfort of our own homes.

Below are some counselor-approved ways that our pets can support mental health.

Mental Health And Pets: Alleviating Stress

Interacting with a kind and loving dog decreases one’s cortisol levels, which is a stress hormone. Having a pet also causes a surge of oxytocin, which is another chemical that decreases stress. This is why animal-assisted therapy is so effective. Moreover, the act of touching a pet decreases blood pressure. Hence, it lowers stress. Subsequently, studies have revealed that dogs can tremendously assist in pacifying aggressive and hyperactive kids.

Pets Make Us Feel Important

We feel more important and wanted when we own a pet. The simple act of taking care of a pet has great mental health benefits. Taking care of another living being provides us with a sense of meaning and commitment.

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Additionally, even if your pets do not mingle so much with their owners, this is a fact. In a previous study on mental health and animals, seniors were given hamsters to care for. Researchers kept track of their moods for more than two months. Also, they compared the participants of the study and a group who did not care for pets. Consequently, the participants assigned to care for the hamsters were less anxious and depressed after two weeks than those outside of the control group. Thus, researchers validated that taking care of a living being yielded mental health benefits.

Mingling and Caring For Pets Reduces Stress Hormones

Research around mental health and pets revealed that playing and interacting with animals significantly lowers stress hormones. These benefits can happen just after a few minutes of mingling with a pet. So pets are indeed very beneficial for depression sufferers.

Playing with a pet like a cat or a dog increases one’s dopamine and serotonin levels. These two hormones pacify and calm the nervous system. When you laugh or smile at your pet’s loving gestures, you are already activating your happy hormones.

Pets Help Prevent Childhood Anxiety

A pet can protect kids from anxiety, states a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A study was performed on 640 kids, half of which took care of pets at home. The researchers gauged their physical activity, anxiety levels, screen time, BMI, or body mass index. At the end of the study, it was found that all the kids had the same BMIs, physical activity, and screen time, regardless if they had pets or not. However, they had differing anxiety levels. More than 20% of the kids who had no pet dogs were positive for anxiety in their screening tests, and only 12% of those who had pets experienced anxiety.

Thus, pets obviously produce a positive impact on childhood anxiety and stress. Consequently, kids who grow up with pet dogs or cats have a higher likelihood of becoming healthy and joyful teenagers.

Pets Improve One’s Well-Being And Self-Confidence

At present, Miami and Saint Louis University psychologists performed several experiments around the advantages of having pets at home. Subsequently, the results revealed that owners of pets had alleviated their well-being in various aspects, including improved physical fitness, decreased loneliness and misery, increased self-confidence, improved social skills, and less fear and anxiety.

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Dogs And Cats Are Good Models Of Being In The Present

Animals thrive at the moment. This means that they do not stress over what occurred yesterday. Also, they are not scared about what could happen in the future.

As a consequence, pets can aid individuals in becoming more attentive. Mindfulness is the mental process of focusing on the present. Thus, they significantly help adolescents and teenagers appreciate and seize the present moments. Additionally, pets are a great distraction for teens from the things that bother them. Finally, spending time with pets helps kids of all ages to be more lighthearted and playful.

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Evolutionary Psychology’s Use

I grew up learning that acceptance was the key to everything. If you accept someone for who they are, they are going to do the same to you. If you don’t do that, you will keep on hating each other and not get anything done.

I took those words to heart because I heard them from my parents. They were the most level-headed adults that I had ever met, and I could say that up to this day. There was no bad blood with them. They genuinely cared for everyone, even if the people happened to be strangers in their lives. In truth, they would often take me to the shelter downtown, and we would all volunteer to cook for the homeless people. My parents believed that they needed more help than ever, and if we could do something nice for them, it would mean the world for those people.

When I became an adult, I was fortunate to carry their way of thinking. The more people I met, the more my understanding and acceptance of everyone developed. This was especially of use when it came to others’ lifestyles and professions.

If there was one profession that genuinely baffled me for years, though, it was evolutionary psychology.

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What is an example of evolutionary psychology? 

The basic idea behind evolutionary psychology is that animals and humans can naturally adapt to environments where their ancestors have succeeded in the past. For example, a bird migrates to a new forest. Though it has never been there before, it is supposed to know which foods are edible or poisonous so that the bird will survive there.

How does evolutionary psychology explain human behavior? 

According to evolutionary psychology, humans tend to behave with the continuation of life in mind. Furthermore, every action that humans make is supposed to be a product of natural selection. Although it seems impossible to prove such ideas, evolutionary psychologists advocate them extensively.

Who is associated with evolutionary psychology? 

Charles Darwin is associated with evolutionary psychology, even though that is not his field. The reality is that evolutionary psychologists have based their ideas on his theories in the beginning. They only created new views as Peter Kropotkin, and Wilhelm Wundt came into the picture to propose ideas that counter Darwin’s.

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Is evolutionary psychology scientific? 

Experts have debated this matter for ages, although many people claim that evolutionary psychology is far from scientific. The primary reason is that evolutionary psychologists do not seek evidence to prove their theories. In truth, it had always been impossible to prove their hypothesis about natural selection.

What are the principles of evolutionary psychology? 

  • The brain can be fragmented into smaller areas to resolve issues.
  • Only specific parts of the brain evolved, depending on which ones are needed to resolve an issue.
  • As the environment changes, humans change.

What is wrong with evolutionary psychology? 

Evolutionary psychology has always been criticized due to the following reasons:

  • There is no way to prove or disprove the evolutionary psychologists’ hypotheses.
  • It does not accept reports that the brain goes through plasticity and creates new neural synapses when someone learns something new.
  • Evolutionary psychologists believe that humans evolved in the same environment.

Who invented evolutionary psychology? 

Peter Kropotkin is known as the founder of evolutionary psychology. He was a Russian anarchist who wrote many books, including Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution, in 1902. It contains a series of essays about how animals and humans basically need each other to survive. This book counters the ideas that Charles Darwin proposed regarding the theory of evolution.

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Why is evolutionary psychology criticized? 

Evolutionary psychology is often criticized because of its unique way of explaining why people behave a certain way. For instance, someone ends up on the sex offender list of the authorities. Instead of making the individual responsible for their actions, evolutionary psychologists believe that.

What are the basic concepts of evolutionary perspective? 

The basic concepts of evolutionary perspective include:

  • Natural selection dictates how a person feels or behaves.
  • Human has evolved based on the specific problems that our ancestors had to resolve.
  • If you want to understand a modern person’s thought process, you should assess their predecessors.

What is evolutionary behavior? 

Evolutionary behavior refers to how human beings behave as they evolve. The change typically comes after people face a severe problem that cannot be solved unless they alter their perspective and behavior. Furthermore, the term can refer to how individuals behave a certain way not because they are evil but because it affects their evolution.

What are the three main criticisms of evolutionary psychology? 

These are the three main criticisms of evolutionary psychology:

  • It follows the effect-and-cause relationship instead of the other way around.
  • It refuses to accept that external influences can make people behave differently.
  • If someone acts inappropriately sexually, it states that the individual is not responsible for their action.
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How do you become an evolutionary psychologist? 

Becoming an evolutionary psychologist is no different from what individuals go through in various psychological fields. After getting a bachelor’s degree, the person needs to take a master’s degree and move up to a doctoral degree. It is also preferable if their studies focus on evolutionary psychology.

Why is the theory of evolution so crucial in understanding how human beings behave? 

The theory of evolution is vital in understanding human behavior because it explains what happens when people evolve. Practically speaking, human beings tend to change how they behave when creating a new generation. Some of their thought patterns change; even their outlook in life may become different. With the theory of evolution in mind, an evolving person or group of people should no longer come as a surprise.

What is the meaning of evolutionary? 

The term ‘evolutionary’ comes from the root word ‘evolution.’ It has been used to describe the evolution process that various species have most likely experienced throughout the centuries. This word is synonymous with progression, unfolding, or metamorphosis.

Who was the first person referred to as a psychologist?

Wilhelm Wundt was the first person to be called a psychologist. In 1879, he was the first German scientist to establish a psychology laboratory at the University of Leipzig. This milestone in Wundt’s life turned him into one of the founding fathers of psychology.

Final Thoughts

It had taken me some time to understand the importance of evolutionary psychology. It was made more challenging by the people who kept criticizing the field. Luckily, I met an evolutionary psychologist in a university one time, and she explained how evolution could affect our brains. I was not 100% sold, but I accepted the explanation and respected their beliefs. That’s what matters in the end, after all.

Frequently Asked Questions About Therapy Dogs

Who says your furry friend can’t be your therapist too? Dogs are man’s best friend, but they can serve as therapy dogs also!

Dogs have shown to have positive effects on owners, no matter their age. In fact, many dog owners see their dogs as important family members. What makes dogs particularly good for therapy is how they can seemingly pick up their owners’ emotional state and easily read body language. 

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Therapy dogs are pets who can give emotional support. They typically live with people. In some instances, they work at hospitals, nursing or retirement homes, and schools. There is a wide range of conditions that a therapy dog can help and these are: 

  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 
  • Children with autism 
  • Heart patients 
  • Alzheimer patients 
  • Depression 
  • And more! 

In addition to supporting people with mental health challenges and disorders, therapy dogs are also known to help support emotional well-being. They can provide help through: 

  • Teaching us mindfulness and how to pay attention; 
  • Relieving stress and increase happiness; 
  • Leading us to nature; 
  • Offering empathy and providing emotional support; 
  • Providing comfort; 
  • Providing a sense of purpose; 
  • Promoting socialization; 
  • And decrease loneliness and depression.

Dogs typically go through proper training as they need certification to become therapy dogs. The preparation for these therapy dogs teaches them to be gentle and accept strangers touching them. Any friendly breed of dog can work as a therapy dog as long as they have the right qualities. Some of the most important factors include mannerisms, temperament, and response to sudden stimuli. 

Do note, however, that therapy dogs are different from service dogs. Service dogs are for particular tasks that their owners are incapable of. On the other hand, therapy dogs provide comfort and attention to help a person’s mental health. Anyone can benefit from a therapy dog, whereas service dogs help specific people.

If you’re looking to train or adopt a therapy dog, the following section contains commonly asked questions about training, qualities, and clarifications on this therapy.  

What does a therapy dog do?

Therapy dogs are trained and licensed to serve as healing companions for people with health conditions like PTSD or cancer. Together with their handlers, these therapy dogs go into medical facilities such as hospitals, clinics, and psychiatric institutions. Their primary purpose is to provide support and comfort to struggling patients.

Do Therapy dogs have the same rights as service dogs?

While therapy dogs and service dogs go through similar training and process, therapy dogs are not given the same rights as service dogs. Federal law states that therapy dogs may only be granted access to several permitted institutions. Whereas service dog owners, who are persons with disabilities, are given legal access to any place along with their service dogs.

How do I know if my dog can be a therapy dog?

First of all, you must have an adult dog, as puppies are usually not permitted by organizations. A well-mannered dog is one of the first telltale signs you know your dog can become a therapy dog. He/she should be able to mingle and make contact with people without any problem. It is the dog equivalent of being a people-person.

Other good signs include your dog ignoring other dogs and handling stressful environments such as a busy hospital setting and affectionate, especially children.

Can my therapist make my dog a service dog?

A diagnosis made by a certified mental health practitioner, such as a psychologist or therapist, is vital if an individual wants to have a service dog. Your therapist writes an ESA letter to help you apply and qualify for animal assistance. However, your dog can only be a service dog if he/she has undergone training, which can take years. If not, you may have to get a trained service dog from someone else.

How can I certify my dog as a therapy dog online?

According to medical professionals, there is no certification for therapy dogs online. The only qualification needed for your dog to be a therapy dog is to have an ESA letter from a certified health practitioner. The ESA letter should contain your full name, medical condition, and how it prevents you from performing your daily activities.

How do I train my dog to be a therapy dog?

Preparing a dog to become a therapy is a lengthy but worthwhile process. It is best to start as early as when your dog is a puppy. This allows your dog to have ample time to adjust, adapt, and gain necessary skills. Building trust with your dog is usually the first step taken, then obedience training follows. You can also enroll the dog in an organization that trains therapy dogs.

Can you deny a therapy dog?

As therapy dogs do not hold the same rights as service animals, some places may deny entry or access to a therapy dog. This is stated under federal law that therapy dogs should be treated like regular pets. It is best to ask permission from a place first before bringing in a therapy dog.

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Do emotional support dogs count as service dogs?

Under the ADA, emotional supports do not qualify as service dogs, so the two are not granted the same rights. According to the laws, service dogs are classified as working animals. They can perform tasks for people with disabilities, whether physical or mental. On the other hand, support or therapy dogs are trained pets to provide emotional support. The distinction between the two is clear.

What’s the difference between a service dog and a companion dog?

As previously mentioned, service dogs are trained to perform tasks for their owners. For example, they can remind an individual when it is time to take their medicine or call other people’s attention if their owners get into an accident. Companion dogs are only trained, from their name itself, to provide companionship.

What qualities make a good therapy dog?

Intelligence is one of the top characteristics a dog should possess to make him/her a good therapy dog. With intelligence comes other valuable skills such as not getting sidetracked by non-essential things and adapting. They should also be patient, calm, and friendly with people.

How do I make my dog a therapy pet?

Passing the AKC Canine Good Citizen Test is the first step in making a dog a therapy pet. This is an assessment of a dog’s basic training and skills, including having good manners and communicating well with people and other dogs.

What is the therapy dog test?

The therapy dog test is the Canine Good Citizen Test previously mentioned. This is provided by the American Kennel Club and is made available through various therapy organizations.

Can I take my emotional support dog to stores?

The American Disabilities Act does not classify emotional support dogs as service animals. Hence, they are not allowed in public places such as stores, hotels, and restaurants unless granted permission or access by authorities.

What breeds make good emotional support dogs?

The most popular breed of emotional support dogs is Labrador retrievers. Other dogs such as poodles, saint bernards, and german shepherds also good choices. These dogs are known to be intelligent and caring breeds.

Do service dogs have to go everywhere with you?

The simple answer is yes. Service dogs allow a person with disabilities to function generally in the streets. It is best to have them accompany you at all times, in cases of emergency or not.

Conclusion

The companionship of a dog is irreplaceable. It’s less complicated and more stable than human companionship, and they can be there for you 24/7. A dog’s presence can help us recover from emotionally taxing situations and life stresses. In some cases, therapy dogs can succeed where medical treatments can’t.

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Now that you know the key differences between therapy and service dogs, as well as other information, here are your next steps in getting a therapy dog: 

Look at your specific needs and what you hope to achieve. It is important to determine whether you need your dog to do particular tasks or merely provide support and companionship. 

If you plan to adopt a dog, make sure you do the research. Certain breeds are a better fit for this job. But, what’s more, important is their personality, behavior, and temperament. 

While dogs can become therapy animals at any age, puppies are easier to train. Meanwhile, older dogs can be just as loving and sweet as the younger ones. 

Once you have a dog, you can start the training immediately. We recommend finding a professional dog trainer for this to help you save time. In general, your therapy dog needs to exhibit certain qualities and behaviors. They should not be easily excitable nor too shy. Important traits include obedience, unaggressive, gentle, relaxed, and not easily startled. 

Once your dog is ready, it must be registered by a certified organization and pass a test. The American Kennel Club (AKC) also recommends that dogs pass the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test before the therapy dog registration. 

You will also need a mental health practitioner certification for everyday situations like travel and official business. 

You’re all set! Congratulations on taking this action step towards better mental health and well-being. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Animal Therapy

A dog is a man’s best friend, but can it also be his—therapist? 

We see photos and videos of cute animals on social media every day. Much of our enjoyment comes from our furry friends. However, we may be underestimating the role of animals in our lives. Little did we know that animal therapy could be the thing that saves us from despair.

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Animal-assisted therapy, or animal therapy, is a therapeutic method that utilizes animals such as dogs, cats, birds, horses, and pigs. Its purpose is to help individuals recover from or cope with physical and mental health problems. Animal therapy has gained more popularity, especially since the pandemic took its toll on people’s well-being.

Animals are known to have the capacity to improve people’s mental health. Simply petting animals promotes the release of hormones that aid in relaxation and mood elevation. 

Here are some of the mental health benefits of animal-assisted therapy:

  • A decrease in anxiety
  • Reduction of feelings of loneliness.
  • People feel comfort.
  • Increase in mental stimulation. 

Aside from mental health, animal therapy also provides physical health benefits such as:

  • Improvement of cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure.
  • Reduction of overall physical pain
  • Strengthening of the immune system
  • Normalized breathing for anxious people.

Animal therapy can help those with Alzheimer’s disease, autism, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, or addiction. Likewise, animal therapy can be used by anyone having difficulties coping with adverse events and daily stressors. People who dislike, fear, or are allergic to animals may not be recommended for this intervention.

This article talks about how animals can help us cope with adversity and other frequently asked questions about animal therapy. Read the full article if you want to learn more about the wonders of animal therapy.

How does animal therapy work?

Also known as animal-assisted therapy or pet therapy, from the name itself, it is a form of treatment utilizing the support and comfort an animal can provide. Studies show that working or interacting with animals provides relief and produces a calming effect on humans.

What are the benefits of animal therapy?

Providing relief, lowering pain and discomfort, increasing an individual’s energy levels, reducing boredom, and improving social interactions are only some of the well-known benefits of animal therapy.

What types of therapy animals are there?

The most commonly used animals in pet therapy are dogs and cats. However, other animals such as fish, guinea pigs, horses, rabbits, parrots, and turtles are also used as therapy animals. These animals have to undergo an assessment, pass training, and be registered to work as therapy animals.

Where is animal-assisted therapy used?

Therapy animals offer special comfort and support in stressful environments such as hospitals, detention centers, and schools. They are not confused with service animals, who provide support usually to people with physical abilities, and emotional support animals, who are generally seen with individuals suffering from mental disorders.

How effective is animal-assisted therapy?

Many research found improvement in an individual’s well-being while undergoing animal-assisted therapy, rendering it an effective approach. Said individuals are noticed to have higher levels of endorphins, increasing their happiness and energy levels.

What animal is the most common type used in animal-assisted therapy?

As previously mentioned, dogs and cats are the usual animals used in animal-assisted therapy. Temperament is one of the most important traits a therapy animal should possess. They should be non-aggressive, friendly, and patient – all of which are characteristics manifesting in dogs and cats as they are domesticated pets.

What pet is best for depression?

The different types of therapy animals have their specialties. However, many prefer a pet dog, especially for an individual suffering from depression. Dogs are naturally empathic animals, so that they can determine mood changes in humans almost always instantly. They are proven to be good companions.

What’s the best therapy animal?

Like there is no best pet, there is also no best therapy animal. There are many factors to consider for the best criteria, and each therapy animals have their unique abilities and skills to showcase. Some would say dogs, as they are a man’s best friend. Some would prefer cats or birds, as these animals are usually low maintenance.

What animals are used for work?

To this day, many animals are used for work. Dogs are not only used as therapy, service, or emotional support animals, but they are also often working in the military or police as guard or combat animals. Farm animals such as horses, pigs, and cows, are used to help do agricultural work. At the same time, other animals such as elephants and seals are used for tourism purposes.

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Can a lion mate with a tiger?

There is now a specific type of animal called liger, a hybrid offspring between a male lion and a female tiger. To answer the question, it is now possible for a lion to mate with a tiger.

How are animals used by humans?

Over the years, animals have been used and have helped humans in a lot of ways. Animals have been a source of food, clothing, transportation, and others. Some animals are held sacred in some religions, so they are worshipped. And nowadays, they are also essential components in helping humans do research, medicine, and science in general.

What are the four uses of animals?

Food, transport, safety and recreation, and clothing are the four primary uses of animals. Meat and dairy are from animals such as chickens and cows. Horses and camels are popular animals used for carrying people or goods from one place to another.

Dogs are kept pets to protect the house, and monkeys are often seen as circus shows for entertainment. Meanwhile, wools from sheep are made into clothes for people.

Why are animals important?

Animals are not only essential because they have a lot of use for the human population. They also contribute significantly to the world’s ecological balance, such as bringing nutrients, helping in decomposition and other scientific or natural processes, and a lot of different operations.

What can animals give us?

Animals fundamentally provide us with everything we may need in our lives, from clothes to transportation, labor, protection, food, and a lot more. Many of the products we have now are from animals.

What are the benefits of animals?

There are many benefits animals provide for us humans. One is a religious benefit, as in some religions, they are honored and believed to be powerful creatures. Another is practical benefits, wherein animals are used for labor and other domestic purposes. They also provide health benefits, as proven by animal therapy.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought overwhelming stress and anxiety. It has also kept us from employing some of our old coping strategies like meeting up with friends. Fortunately, we can still care for ourselves by applying new and safe coping strategies such as animal therapy.

So what should you expect when getting animal therapy? Some forms of animal therapy involve having a pet at your side all day for emotional support. Other forms may involve the animal visiting you or you visiting the animal. 

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Animal therapy patients often speak to an animal or in the presence of it. It aids in the patients’ emotional and cognitive processing because animals are non-judgmental and easy to open up to. Some patients can instantly feel comfort by merely lying down or cuddling with the animal.

Engaging the sense of touch is extremely helpful, especially when people have been deprived of it because of the lockdowns.

To maximize benefits, animal therapy often complements traditional therapies done by mental health professionals. If you’re looking for a therapy animal, contact your local mental health-care provider to help you find a program or animal that suits your needs.

Alternatively, you can consider getting a pet instead to keep you company during these difficult times. You’ll be surprised at how pets can improve your mental health. If you already have pets, you may certify or register them to be your own therapy or emotional support animals. 

Remember that you don’t have to face life’s challenges alone. Things can get better with the help of some furry friends.

How Pets Can Improve Your Mental Health

Among the 7.8 billion humans living on the planet, 57% are pet owners and caretakers. Out of this number, 33% own dogs, 23% hold cats, 12% have fish, and 6% keep birds. Rodents, reptiles, and other pets compose the remaining 6% of such population.

If you already have a pet, then you know why people love nurturing domesticated animals. And if you haven’t, then maybe you still don’t know enough about the benefits of having a pet.

Pets are known to decrease blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. Aside from these physical effects, taking care of pets also improves your overall well-being, especially your mental health. But how can your pet positively affect your mental health?

Building Healthy Habits

Taking care of pets is just like nurturing your children. But unlike children, they’re of lower maintenance. Your pets only need a cozy home, proper nutrition, regular check-ups with a vet, and exercise. You don’t even have to enroll them and spend money on education! All you need to do to improve your pet’s knowledge is by training them.

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But even if they are low maintenance, you still have to keep track of their well-being. You have to feed them properly, accompany them for vet visits, and encourage them to be active. These chores require some organizational skills and patience, so you have to put in an effort.

And since pets don’t usually cry like babies when they need something, you may not know what they need. To solve this, some pet owners schedule these simple pet tasks. This easy activity can help people with mental disorders, especially kids with ADHD. Once you get used to these scheduled tasks, you can apply your organizational skills to improve your self-care habits.

Securing A Lifelong Friend

Besides helping kids with ADHD, pets also help elderly owners with their Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have shown how pets, especially dogs, can enhance self-esteem and confidence in dementia patients.

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But pets aren’t just lifelong friends because of their role in elderly care. Pets are always with you in everything you do. They can accompany you even in your most significant life changes. With their constant presence, they can help keep you grounded on your priorities.

Meeting A Trusted Companion

You can do almost anything with your pets. You can travel and try new hobbies with your pets. And with your pet’s excitement and nuanced view of the world, you can enjoy activities in new and fun ways.

If you’re a dog owner, you’ll know they can be hyper sometimes. Utilize their wild bursts of energy by taking them out for walks in the park. Or if you’re leaning into a more athletic track, you can take them out for running or jogging routines. You can also bring them to your hikes to help them run in the wild.

But if your pet is more on domestic activities, you can try knitting, photography, and even cloud or bird watching. These activities can be hobbies you can enjoy with a cat or a hamster. All these activities can benefit your mental health by giving you an enjoyable time while taking a hiatus from stress and anxiety.

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Gaining A Confidante

Aside from hobbies, pets are also easy to confide in with your thoughts and feelings. When you’re feeling tired or stressed after a long day at work, you may not be in the mood for socialization. But feelings of tiredness can degrade your mental health if not remedied with the warmth of another being. If you’re feeling lonely and isolated, your pet can give you this kind of love.

You can vent out to them about your activities, and they will listen to you. Since they can’t talk back, you can share your story without judgment and interruptions. But even if they can’t provide you with kind words, they can still improve your mood with their light touches. Cats will curl up in your lap, and dogs will swipe their tongue. These simple gestures are just some of your pet’s love languages.

Participating In Pet Communities

Having a pet may lead you to join groups or associations for pets. These communities often have steps and tips on how to improve your pet’s lives. Once you immerse into these pet communities, you’ll be able to build new and meaningful friendships beneficial to your mental health.

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You’ll be able to bond with your community through scheduled park walking and playdates. But these new friendships can also go beyond the simple meet and greets. You can also find common hobbies you have with other members of your pet community. You’ll be bonding more than ever, and the next thing you know, you’ve found another lifelong friend.

Indeed, taking care of a pet and seeing them as your own family can help in different ways. Some people have secured a lifelong friend, gained a companion and confidante, and enjoyed having communities.

If you want these benefits for yourself, you can start by improving your pet care or getting your first pet. You can choose a dog, a cat, or even domestic snakes. Whatever kind of pet you want to get, you can still gain these life-changing mental health benefits.

How To Make Your Family Like Pets

When I was growing up, I was your average farm boy. During school breaks, I would wake up early to help my father feed the dogs, horses, and cattle. If it was time to shave the sheep’s fur, I stayed at the stables, cleaning the area or soothing them. For more than two years, my siblings and I had a pet pig named Porky, which we allowed to stay in the house.

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My love for animals developed once I got a little older and took on more farm responsibilities. While my friends looked for part-time jobs at fast-food chains or ice cream parlors, I stayed behind to take care of our livestock. My parents tried to make me do the former, saying they could handle everything by themselves, but I did not budge. I loved farm life; nothing else could compare to it.

However, some changes remained inevitable. Since I always had a thing for technology, my folks encouraged me to apply at the best universities to get my Bachelor’s degree. When I got accepted at UCLA, they threw a party at the farm to celebrate the news. Dad even said, “Don’t worry about your tuition, son. Just get good grades and try to make correct decisions all the time.”

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Although I was happy, the college acceptance meant that I had to leave the farm and the life that I had always known. I moved to the East coast the country to take my classes, and I only managed to see my loved ones on long holidays. I missed the farm more after graduation since I had to settle at Silicon Valley and practically make my technological dreams come true. It did not help either that I lived with some friends at a condo that did not allow pets inside.

The Revelation

I followed the same mundane routine for years until I got married to my long-time girlfriend, Jess. We both came from prominent families, so it was natural for us to buy a large house that we could fill with at least four children someday soon. Searching for the perfect property within our budget was a breeze, considering we had similar tastes in aesthetics and land size.

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If there was one thing that my wife and I had never-ending discussions over, it was my desire to have pets at home. I said I wanted a massive dog (like a Belgian Malinois or German Shepherd) to protect our little family and handle the kids’ roughhousing, but she told me that it won’t ever happen. My wife also uttered, “You never mentioned that you wanted to have pets when still dating. Why start now?”

Making The Family Like Pets

To be fair to my wife, she did not grow up around animals. Thus, I could understand her hesitation and fear of living with them. But it did not entail that I would give up my dream of having some in the property. The experience taught me about effective communication and emotional growth, so I wished for my future kids’ formation years to be not too different from mine.

These are some tips that my friends who used to have the same issues gave to me:

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Get A Trained Pet

The first thing you should do is pick up an animal that has already been trained to behave. It should not be too challenging, especially when you know the breeder. You may ask them to teach the dog a few tricks before taking them home so that your family will not freak out too much.

Introduce Your Family To The Animals On A Great Day

No matter how behaved you think your new pet can be, your spouse will not care about it if they have had a depressing day. It will also not work if the animal is the first thing that your children see after a nap. Their brains are too muddled in either circumstance; that’s why you cannot answer them.

With this information under my belt, I waited patiently for the perfect opportunity to knock. I timed it when my wife sold a house at a high-end neighborhood to be too happy to say no to anything. And it was a great idea—my wife let the dog in, albeit reluctantly.

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Ensure A Trainer Is Within Reach

Another great idea was making sure that the dog trainer was in the room when the pet and my family met for the first time. Doing so helped my spouse to feel less scared about the dog’s presence. She could ask questions about the animals that you bought for the house.  

Final Thoughts 

When I brought Baxter the Belgian Malinois to the house, my wife freaked out so much that she ran to the bathroom and locked it. Her message was clear: “Take it out of the house or else…” But once I did everything mentioned above, my family started warming up to the dogs. Wasn’t that wonderful?

Things That May Never Happen In Weddings Post Pandemic

 

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One of the most affected businesses in the world is the wedding industry. Travel bans, shelter-in-place orders, and social distancing measures have pushed many partners to downscale or cancel their weddings. It’s not certain when the virus will subside and finally become history for us, but of course, couples do still want to get married, despite how different the events industry is now and in the future.

We spoke with several events and wedding organizers, along with a medical specialist, about what changes will be seen and what may never be seen in weddings post-pandemic.

Big weddings with hundreds of guests will most probably be very rare, if not impossible.

Grand weddings won’t be as common after this global crisis. Wedding and event planners have already noticed a progressive trend of more intimate wedding receptions even before the pandemic. With COVID-19, it will most likely be going to become a larger drift, to have a wedding that’s smaller and more focused on the newlyweds and their families and making the celebration more about them rather than the previous events that have made weddings less meaningful. A known infectious disease expert also believes that stopping the trend of big weddings is surely for the best from a personal and public health perspective.

You will scarcely see men and women dancing all together on the dance floor.

You can show your moves as much as you can, as crowds in dance floors won’t be as packed as before. Perhaps some people might have the guts to dance with strangers still after the pandemic, but it surely won’t be as cheery and relaxed. It might not be strictly recommended, but limitations should be set. People must know that dancing with someone you know is one thing, but when you dance wildly and without preservation while drinking some spirits, your risk of getting infected with the virus increases significantly.

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Wedding bars will have a new face.

One thing you might notice first is the bar without the tender. Drinks in wedding receptions may change direction from bartenders mixing drinks for the guests to individual drinks prepared for them to take. An owner of a popular events planning company was quoted saying that the look of wedding bars will change. “In big hotels,” she said, they typically open a bottle of soft drinks. Perhaps we will be seeing more of these individual bottles.”

The buffet-style will probably become outdated.

It’s time to bid farewell to buffets. There has been no proof confirming that the virus is transmitted through food, but buffet-style meals will not make social distancing easy. Yes, one cannot ingest the coronavirus, but when there are several people sharing food in one table, whether it’s buffet-style of whatever style it may be, there is sharing of food, glasses, and utensils. The opportunity for transmission is there; hence, the risk is high.

Large grazing tables and family meals may be substituted with more sanitized choices.

Grazing tables and family meals have become a budding trend in the wedding and events industry previous to these dark times. Still, experts say that they might not be able to regain popularity post-pandemic. These would most likely go away for some time, even when the pandemic will subside and end. People are more conscious about getting infected with almost anything, so there won’t be much interest in a grazing table.

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Nuptials won’t be booking for only one wedding date.

Yes, because it will hurt to cancel an already planned grand event because a pandemic hit the world. This happened to Princess Beatrice, who couldn’t push through with her wedding because of the COVID-19. Future clients will be smarter and more prepared and will likely integrate a plan B, or the probability of rescheduling their wedding date.

Post-coronavirus, new contracts will be made, and fresh styles in wedding decoration and planning will be created. Clients will haggle for a chance at having a second date, and organizers will be obliged to be more understanding of their pleas. The pandemic has changed a lot in the wedding industry – and each one of us.

 

 

 

Most Beautiful Birds In The World

The 2019 birds event presents the best experience of the bird-watching venture. Sure, many types of birds have incredible features like dexterity and speed. However, we have the list of fairest birds based on the creatures’ colors, contrast, and display of their beautiful plumage.

Blue Jay – These birds are very recognizable because the male and female species share the same color patterns. They have a distinct crest on the head with cobalt tipped and lavender blue feathers and an exquisite black collar.

Macaw – Aside from being the people’s favorite due to their ability to imitate human speech, these grand parrots of the tropics comes in a wide variety of colors. They are distinguishable due to their vibrant presence. There’s scarlet red, blue, and gold.

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Snowy Owl – These grand birds of prey has become movie favorites because of their unforgettable look. These birds have a silky plumage that is white as snow. The males are almost entirely black. The females, on the other hand, have black feathers on their backs and wings.

Keel-Billed Toucan – The birds’ plumage is predominantly black with matching yellow bib. However, these birds’ most distinguishing feature is their beaks. The color is bright lime that edged with blue and orange tone and tipped in cherry red.

Painted Bunting – These birds are considered the most beautiful songbirds in North America. They have a striking sapphire head and ruby breast. The combination of colors truly makes it stand out from other tropical birds.

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Flamingo – Of course, these birds are one of fairest among other birds. Not only are they unforgettably pink in color, but they are also very unique. Not all that, these birds entirely dance with their long slender legs, graceful necks, and rosy complexions. These birds represent elegance.

Peacock – These birds top the list due to their magnificent spectacles. These peafowl best serve the definition of extravagance. That is due to the male peacocks’ long neck, tiny head frill crown, and its feathers comparable to a lovely gown.

Caring For My Pet During The Outbreak

 

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Studies and even human experiences have proven time and again that having a pet helps maintain good physical and mental health. Pets provide happiness to people, which in turn helps lower their blood pressure and reduce their stress and anxiety levels. In the face of this global crisis, having a pet in your home is very comforting indeed. However, people are increasingly getting worried that they might catch the infection and infect others or if they can transmit the virus to them. They are anxious about how to take care of them because times have changed over the past months.

Here are some frequently asked questions and their corresponding answers on taking care of your pets in the face of COVID-19.

How should I take care of my pets and interact with them during this outbreak?

The safest and most convenient way to take care of your pet is by observing hygiene both for you and your pet. Constantly wash your hands the proper way and make sure you shower and change clothes if you have gone out to buy food and other items. This way, you prevent acquiring the infection, and you avoid transmitting it to your family or to the people you’re staying within your home. If your pets are close by and you happen to cough or sneeze, it is possible that the droplets from your sneeze get to their collar or on areas of their body and then to other people who interact with them.

Are pets vulnerable to getting coronavirus, and do they have vaccines to treat them?

COVID-19 is a new virus that was discovered three or four months ago. It is a component of the coronavirus family that manifests with the simple cold to more complicated coronaviruses that may cause SARS and MERS. In light of this, canine coronavirus vaccines sold in the markets are made to protect animals from intestinal infections. They are not actually licensed and have not proven to fight against respiratory infections. This was confirmed by the Department of Clinical Sciences at Colorado State University.

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However, because animals can transmit other coronaviruses to other animals as well as to humans, these vaccines are beneficial to treat these specific diseases, although there has never been enough proof to confirm that vaccinating dogs and other pets with these vaccines will offer cross-protection against COVID-19.

Should I not get close to my pet if I don’t feel well or if I have a fever?

Even though it has not been confirmed whether or not animals can capably transmit the new coronavirus, much has yet to be studied and understood about COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that people who don’t feel well or have a fever should not handle their pets and get close to them. It is always good to err on the side of caution just so your pet or pets are safe from being infected or becoming sick.

What if I get sick? What do I do to take care of my pet’s well-being?

  • Buy more food than usual for your pet, perhaps an extra bag of dog food or cat food so that there are enough supplies for them in case you need to have yourself quarantined at home or in the hospital.
  • Find a designated person to hold responsible in case of an emergency. It may be a family member, a close friend, or a neighbor you can trust.
  • Remember to practice good hygiene at all times. Make sure that your pet is groomed regularly. Clean their food bowls, bed materials, and toys.

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What if my pet gets sick?

So much has yet to be studied about COVID-19, which is why pet owners must contact their veterinarian if this happens. Before bringing your pet to the clinic, call the vet first, as maybe he has protocols and questions before he receives your pet, like if it has been in contact with someone infected with the virus recently, among others. This is the clinic or facility’s way of keeping their employees safe and protected.