Animal Assisted Play Therapy in Schools

Play Therapy Melbourne therapist Elisha, and Hazel her dog, are a highly trained and certified team who can provide a calming and supportive environment for therapeutic change to occur.

Elisha can provide one on one Child Centred Play Therapy, Art Therapy and if permitted and requested by the school Animal Assisted Play therapy.

Her experience in working in multi disciplinary teams, and along side education providers, brings with it experience in tailoring group sessions to specific needs of small groups of students. This may include a creative therapeutic approach to themes such as:

  • Emotional regulation
  • Social skills building
  • Empathy building
  • Bullying
  • School difficulties
  • Behavioural challenges
  • Bereavement or family changes.

Elisha and Hazel certified as a therapy team in January 2018, after extensive training and testing. Hazel is a nonshedding, hypoallergenic Tamaruke labradoodle. She has been temperament tested, certified, insured, and continues to train to ensure the safety and well being of herself and students.

In addition to the benefits of Child Centered Play Therapy, Hazel provides those she visits with numerous psychological and physiological benefits.

Both adults and children who interact with Hazel for the purpose of therapy may experience improvements in :

  • Decreased stress levels
  • Reduced anger and aggression
  • Decreased hostility toward the self and others
  • Improved social interactions
  • Improved compliance for therapy engagement
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Rise in release of beta-endorphins and oxytocin
  • Improvement in self-esteem, patience, and trust
  • Sense of empowerment and mastery

Interestingly,  parents and teachers who have visited with Hazel have reported that she has brought them calm in times of distress.