Yumi is an 11-year old West Highland White Terrier (Westie) who is a registered Therapy Dog. She is also a registered R.E.A.D. dog, which means she has met all qualifications to participate in reading-to-dogs programs at schools (a program to help reluctant readers). She loves people, especially children; she’s affectionate, intuitive, and very friendly. A Therapy Dog is not to be confused with a Service Dog, the latter of which is a dog trained to assist disabled people by switching on lights, opening the refrigerator, fetching the cell phone, etc. As a Therapy Dog, Yumi participates in psychotherapy sessions by assisting Dr. Goya in working with patients with a wide range of needs. Her use in therapy is called “Animal-Assisted Therapy” and is defined as a “goal-directed intervention”. That is, her function during the therapy session is to help meet the goals of the patient. For example, Dr. Goya may have her sit next to a patient to comfort them. Or if a child patient needs to work on building his/her self-esteem, Dr. Goya may have the child take Yumi for a walk (with Dr. Goya’s supervision) to give the child a sense of competence, or teach Yumi to do tricks.
Research has shown that Animal-Assisted Therapy improves communication, raises self-confidence, reduces the symptoms of disease, and improves one’s quality of life.*
In addition, animal-assisted interventions has been shown to have statistically significant health benefits with improvement in blood pressure, heart rate, response to stress, depression, perceived quality of health, and loneliness.**
*Animal-Assisted Therapy – A New Trend in the Treatment of Children and Adults. Dimitrijevic, I. Psychiatria Danibina. 2009 Jun; 21(2):236-241.
**Health Benefits of Animal-Assisted Interventions. Morrison, Michele L. Complementary Health Practice Review, 2007 Jan; 12(1):51-62.
Child and Adult Therapy
Lynn Goya, M.Ed., Psy.D., Psychologist
Master's in Education
from the University of Hawaii and graduated with honors with a Doctorate in Psychology from
Email Dr. Goya at email@example.com
For an appointment or free phone consultation.
Mililani Tech Park 100 Kahelu Ave. Suite 109 Mililani, HI 96789