Meet Neapolitan, the "un-official" therapy pet!
Updated: Mar 28, 2020
Neapolitan (affectionately called Neo) joined the practice in the Spring of 2019. She is named after Neapolitan ice cream. She has a "chocolate" and "vanilla" face, and a "strawberry" body! She is a Skinny Pig. Skinny Pigs are an almost hairless breed of Guinea Pig. Neo has most of her hair on her face, and feet! Neo prides herself in being the office greeter. Her favorite food is tomatoes, specifically cherry tomatoes!
Neo lives at Resilient Minds Counseling during the work week. She stays in her cage during client sessions.
Animals in session similar to Neo, may help improve motivation and engagement in therapy, perhaps resulting in a shorter recovery process.
• Animals can provide a sense of security and emotional support.
• Animals can promote relaxation. Research has demonstrated that petting an animal can help lower blood pressure, heart rate, and increase oxytocin (a feel-good chemical in the brain). In a study of people who had heart attacks, those that had a companion animal lived longer than those that did not.
• Animals can help the client learn frustration tolerance and other anger management techniques.
• Animals can help in the areas of focus and attention.
• Animals can be instruments of learning, which can increase self-confidence and self-esteem.
• Animals offer humor and fun due to their playful nature.
• Animals in therapy ask for clients to develop empathy, nurturance, and responsibility, and model other skills like forgiveness and patience.
• Clients can learn about stereotypes affecting animals, and how they deal with stereotypes in their own life. Through this, they can learn advocacy skills.