Bringing Pet Assisted Therapy to Cumberland Heights was not an entirely new concept. For years, CH has taken in strays and made them a part of the healing family. This time however, the introduction of Karisma was more intentional.
We know that empathy is essential to the treatment of addiction and alcoholism. Empathy is a powerful tool in building trust, and in developing a good relationship between human beings, therapists and addicts, families and addicts and also between addicts themselves. Empathy is especially important in addiction because addicts and alcoholics are used to being judged and criticized. They normally feel like no one understands them. Many times addicts and alcoholics have lost the trust of others or suffer from wounds where others have harmed them. In addiction treatment there is a saying that our secrets keep us sick. Having an animal to tell their secrets to for the first time, knowing the animal will not tell their secrets or judge them is many times their first experience with empathy.
Pet Assisted Therapy helps to teach this powerful concept. Maybe for the first time in years the addict is asking themselves what they can do for another. It also works by helping those who have been battling demons of substance abuse to find a way to step outside of themselves and discover deeper meaning and purpose by providing vital assistance to other living creatures that desperately need love and companionship.
We want to thank River Road Retrievers for bringing Karisma into our lives.