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JOFI THE THERAPY DOG

July 6, 2016

 

Jofi was one of the first documented therapy dogs in the history of psychotherapy and it should be no surprise that in fact, Jofi was Freud's dog. Freud began bringing Jofi to sessions, claiming that it helped him, Freud, keep calm. He soon discovered that Jofi's presence had an influence over his patients, as they were more in touch with their feelings and better able to remain calm. He began experimenting, by placing Jofi in various locations of the therapy room and two things stood out: (1) He noticed that when Jofi rested by the patient, the patient was better able to discuss and express emotionally.  (Note that in psychoanalysis, the patient is reclining position on a couch, facing away from the analyst). (2) Freud noticed that when Jofi rested next to him and was therefore not within the client's site his present in the room marked no influence over the patient. Freud attributed the change in his patient's behavior and their enhanced ability to access emotions to Jofi. Psychoanalysis and the work of Freud did not focus on the human-dog interaction but has certainly made a valuable mark to the on growing field of Animal Assisted Therapy.

 

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