As a rule I always try to keep up on the latest trends in therapy. It’s what this blog is really about.
Now, American colleges have taken a step toward providing better mental health services for their students. They have gone beyond Prozac, beyond nicotine, beyond hookups, even beyond cognitivist homework exercises to broach a new frontier in mental health treatment: therapy dogs.
While pet therapy has long been common in nursing homes and hospitals, gifting college students with puppy time is “a fairly new concept, but one that has been well received,” wrote two University of Connecticut staff members in the research journal College & Undergraduate Libraries.
“College students face many of the same issues as the elderly, such as living away from home, often leaving pets behind and adjusting to an impersonal institution,” they wrote. “Studies have shown that interacting with an unknown dog reduced blood pressure, lowered anxiety, and reduced self-reported depression among college students.”
If it works for students in Harvard Medical School, it might even work for you:
Harvard Medical School’s library has a Shih Tzu named Cooper, available for playtime with students two days a week. Cooper has his own reservation page on Harvard Library’s website. “He enjoys fetching his squeaky toys and stuffed animals, as well as a good game of tug. Should you have a good cry or even feign a whimper near Coop, you are guaranteed to get lots of kisses,” according to his owner’s description.