Tuesday 27 September 2016

2016 - The Journey of Forgiveness

The Journey of Forgiveness

This article was kindly authorized to be uploaded to my blog by Peter Field, Fellow of the Royal Society of Health, a British psychotherapist and  hypnotherapist in Birmingham and London (UK). www.peterfieldhypnotherapy.co.uk

Are you currently dealing with a damaging circumstance that's using way too much emotional energy? Possibly you've been hurt in a love relationship or maybe cheated financially. Maybe the damaging attitude or behavior of a friend, member of your family, colleague or neighbor continues to antagonize you as well.

Reaching farther back, do issues from childhood still worry and also cause you harm?

There is a approach to lighten up your load, reclaim your life and have things back on track. That way is forgiveness. Working through a procedure that leads to forgiveness is a potent antidote to emotional pain. Releasing damaging emotions as well as arriving at that place where forgiveness is possible is often the ultimate way to move forward with your life.

For those who have been hurt by someone else, you might pause to ask, 'Could forgiving someone end up being self-defeating -- even harmful? What if I forgive and then find this person returning to hurt me once again?'

Understand that it is possible to implement measures for self-protection and still work towards forgiveness. You can decide to look for suitable safeguard in the event that someone is stalking you, for instance. Or, you can move away from the person who is interfering with your life. Forgiveness does not mean foolishness. It might have been a costly lesson, but the learning is yours now.

Through learning how to forgive, we take back whatever strength we might previously have lost. If it's suitable to tell the other person that we choose to forgive them, this could diffuse tension too. Once verbalize our forgiveness, it can relieve tension, bringing with it a calmness that had previously been denied. Alternatively, we may choose to forgive and not tell the person who has offended us, and this is fine, too.

Perhaps we could see forgiveness as a boundary, something which restricts negative energy from actively poisoning our personal space. When we forgive, we're proactively saying, 'I release my self as well as my emotions from your grip. I'll not hate you. I will not let that negative energy to affect my life.'

First and foremost, remember that forgiveness is for you - not for the person you need to forgive - something that frees you from the crippling emotional weight of the past and its damages. In forgiving you undoubtedly can find the internal harmony that you deserve.

The process of forgiving, of shifting from anxiety and harm to a much more tranquil, balanced internal state, requires us to consider what exactly took place. The person or people who have harmed us had reason for what they did, regardless of whether they or we recognize those reasons. Most likely they too, in their very own way, happen to be the victim of others, hurt or damaged by their very own particular past. While there may be missing parts and pieces in the puzzle, it is we, and not they, who decide the way we choose to respond to what has took place.

Through this process we may reach a more profound understanding: though we've been treated unfairly or even unkindly, it is now in the past. And it is there that it needs to remain if we are to move forward with our life in a more balanced, and much freer manner.

Arriving at the place where forgiveness is possible cannot be accomplished overnight. It can take time to process the pain. Therapy, support groups, or self-help tools can all be profoundly valuable. It's perfectly acceptable to fully realize the true impact of what the person or people did. Anything less is not honoring ourself. It's healthy to get all of it out in the open.

Taking the high road is always the mature, benevolent and wise thing to do. Yet, proactively deciding to forgive is not the same as ignoring the truth. To forgive does not necessarily mean that we forget. The goal of forgiveness is to release yourself from the anger, the harm and the hate, not to deny what happened.

If you are hurting and filled with anger, perhaps forgiveness really is the key that can unlock those shackles that are keeping you in pain. Finding your own way to forgive may not be straight forward, but it is one of the most liberating things you can possibly do. Maybe now is the moment to move on from the past and forgive. Your life awaits you and there is no real need to delay. Begin your journey of forgiveness right now and move ahead a wiser, more balanced person.

This really is your lifeFree Articles
isn't it high time you reclaimed 
and started to really live it?

Friday 9 September 2016

2016 - War veterans: The emocional support dog.


War veterans
The emocional support dog

Eduardo C. Gerding

“A pet is a medication without side effects that has so many benefits. I can't always explain it myself, but for years now I've seen how instances of having a pet is like an effective drug. It really does help people. Dr. Edward Creagan, Oncologist at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. 16


In 1669, John Locke argued that the relationship with animals, had a socializing function. The use of pets as conventional assistants in mental illness therapies dates back to 1792 in England. Later, in 1867 in Bethel (Biefeld, Germany). animals were involved as well in the treatment of epilepsy In 1944, the American Red Cross organized, a the first therapeutic rehabilitation program for airmen at the Air Force Convalescent Center in New York,

Animal-assisted therapy (AAT)

Zootherapy or animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is an activity where the mission is to select, train and certify animals for supportive treatments and therapies for patients of all ages affected by debilitating diseases which compromise the social, emotional and cognitive level.

Our limbic system is responsible for regulating the emotional component of our behavior. Contact with nature generates the release of substances called endorphins, which stimulate feelings of tranquility that distend and gratify our thought processes.

These results are apparently larger and more noticeable in children, because in them affective thoughts predominates over rationalization. 8. The species most used are dogs, cats, horses, birds, rabbits and dolphins.

In 1996 the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) signed an agreement with a Therapeutic Community of Temperley (Province of Buenos Aires) , whereby mentally disabled patients (young and adult males) would concur to interact with animals. This is the first precedent in this institution regarding animal assisted therapy.

The Animal Assisted Therapy Center was created on April 8, 2003, by Resolution. CD 712/03) . 18

The Animal Assisted Therapy Center has signed agreements since 2005, one with the Tornú Hospital, where works and research in the palliative care unit are being carried; and another in 2007 with the Faculty of Medicine UBA, which appointed the IREP (Institute of Psychophysical Rehabilitation) to work and investigate assisted therapy with horses (Echinotherapy in adult patients with chronic strokes sequels.

In our country, the riding school Hippocampus established an Echinotherapy center at the Club Hípico La Horqueta. In this last trained horses help in the rehabilitation and treatment of diseases, especially motor ones. 2

In Argentina there is a free access AAT Unit with trained dogs in the pediatric Hospital Pedro de Elizalde. These techniques are very useful for autistic patients and children with mental retardation.

The dogs in AAT

Canine involvement in the military dates back to some of the earliest forms of organized combat. In ancient armies and battles dogs were trained and employed as canine soldiers and companions (Forster, 1941). In modern military combat this involvement continues with dogs as scouts, in communications and logistics, in battle, as a means of integration and intimidation, and in detecting weapons. During the Second World War canines were used for the first time in therapy, providing emotional support for those injured in battle. A celebrated war dog, Smoky a four-pound Yorkshire terrier is credited as the first military therapy dog for his work assisting nurses with the provision of care in 1944 in New Guinea . 4

There is an intense bond between dogs and military personnel.

The Lockwood Animal Rescue Center in California is proving that wolves can do the same thing as their canine cousins with their Warriors and Wolves program. 14

In our country, we have the Argentine Therapy Association with Dogs (www.tacop.com.ar) where specialized personnel select the right puppy according to the Campbell Test. Through AAT cases of tetrafocomelia , PDD, ADD syndrome, Ret syndrome ,West syndrome, Lenox Gastaut syndrome, Prader Willy syndrome , Angelman Syndrome, Tourette Syndrome ,Williams Syndrome and Morsier are being assisted as well as epilepsy, HIV / AIDS, psychosis, domestic violence etc. Training courses are held too.

Effects commonly observed in contact with animals:

  • Empathy: The relationship with the animal favors the fact of standing in someone else's shoes
  • Relationships: An emotional safe communication channel is established between therapist and patient.
  • Acceptance: Animals have a particular way of accepting people without judging them. They do not care how patients look or what they may say.
  • Entertainment: Animals provide fun and are ideal for geriatrics.
  • Socialization: Animals provide more socialization making people more sociable with others, reduce anxiety and stress and improve mood.
  • Mental Stimulus: Through increasing communication with others thus helping the evocation of memories.
  • Physiological benefits: Many people feel relaxed when animals are present and have a decrease in their blood pressure. There may also be a strengthening of the muscles and improved recovery of heart disease.

Service Dogs 3,12,17,19

The service dog is specially trained to help undertake tasks for which the patient is incapacitated. This is the case of dogs that help the blind (guide dog) or help epileptics. These dogs can turn on the lights and open doors, carry emergency medication and help ambulation. They also assist the veteran into performing certain exercises.

The Emotional Support Dog

The Emotional Support Dog (or PSA Psychiatric Service Dog) helps patients with mental conditions. These dogs do not need special training. Such dogs are able to identify the different patterns of behavior of each patient and incredibly fit each.

Proven benefits of emotional support dogs:
  1. Reduce medical and psychiatric costs.
  2. Reduce suicidal tendencies.
  3. Reduce the risk of violence, alcoholism, abuse drugs and depression.
  4. Reduce the incidence of severe mental crisis.

Emotional support dogs´ mechanism of action and war veterans. 7

  1. Dogs use the action of their body weight to reduce anxiety and panic. This is called Deep Pressure Stimulation.
  2. Through licking or nudging they interrupt flashbacks or nightmares.
  3. They watch the veteran´s back cover when queuing or when being in a public environment thereby reducing their hypervigilance.
  4. Dogs cause increased levels of oxytocin which improves confidence and the ability to interpret facial expressions overcoming paranoia and other harmful effects of PTSD. 11
  5. Researchers at the University of Melbourne (Australiafound that the link between man and dog is so strong than their heartbeats come to be synchronized. 10


Oxytocin apart from being a hormone produced in the hypothalamus and secreted in the pituitary gland is a neurotransmitter linked to trust, altruism, generosity, training links, empathy and regulation of fear eliminating responses paralysis- It is also involved in learning and memory, face recognition and recognition of emotions in others. Oxitocin activates reward centers producing pleasure (occurs during orgasm).It´s related to monogamy and fidelity, allows the cohesion between groups of people and is closely linked with interpersonal intelligence. For all this is known as the love hormone or linkages´ hormone.

The Emotional Support Dog and PTSD 3,4

One of the current strategies for treating veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the use of dogs for their emotional support. (Klontz, Bivens, Leinart, & Klontz, 2007; Sockalingam et al., 2008). This approach has massive support from organizations and the public in general. 13

Veterans who use a PSD (Psychiatric Service Dogs) to manage their PTSD reported that their psychological symptoms decreased as result of the assistance and support from the service animal (Esnyra & Love, 2008).

Dogs help the veteran to not isolate themselves increasing their social participation (Camp, 2001;. Rintala et al, 2002. The introduction of a dog or PSD improved social relations within family structures (Yount, et al., 2012; Beck et al., 2012).

A third social benefit of PSD was its perception as a non-stigmatizing therapeutic intervention (Taylor et al., 2013).

Allen and Blascovich (1966) demonstrated in a randomized study that emotional support dogs offer an excellent cost / benefit level.

The case of an American veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan 1,15

Robert Soliz was one of the 300,000 US veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan diagnosed with PTSD. According to a study by the RAND Corporation 50 per cent of those affected veterans with mental illness never received the treatment they needed. (Tanielian & Jaycox, 2008). 13

Soliz (31) was an Army specialist. He was discharged in 2005 but his life was destroyed by fear, anxiety, depression and drug abuse. He said: “I would constantly be scanning for who was going to come stab me from behind,” .He could not show affection or hug their children.

His life took a new twist when he entered the program Paws for Purple Hearts is one of four pilot programs in 2008 caused nationwide using dogs Labradors and Golden Retrievers for war veterans affected with PTSD.

Golden Retriever

“There is no psychiatrist in the world
like a puppy licking your face.”
(Ben Williams)

Travel and accommodation of emotional support dogs

These dogs are allowed to fly free in the aircraft cabin with their owners without crates and without weight restrictions. The owner must submit a letter from a mental health professional who so testifies. 3

Lufthansa supports the ability to bring dogs aboard therapeutic and psychiatric assistance, free on flights to / from the US operated by Lufthansa. There are restrictions on connecting flights outside the US.

On connecting flights outside the US operated by Lufthansa, pet dogs for therapeutic or psychiatric purposes are only supported paying the surcharge.
Depending on your weight or size also they must travel inside a container inside the cabin ('pet in cabin') or in the cargo hold. 9


The Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act protect the right of people with disabilities to keep emotional support animals, even when a landlord's policy explicitly prohibits pets. Because emotional support and service animals are not "pets," but rather are considered to be more like assistive aids such as wheelchairs, the law will generally require the landlord to make an exception to its "no pet" policy so that a tenant with a disability can fully use and enjoy his or her dwelling. 6

Veterinary care 3

VA does provide veterinary care for service dogs that are deemed medically necessary for the rehabilitation or restorative care plan of Veterans with permanent physical impairments

Pets for Vets 5

In USA Pets for Vets help to heal the emotional wounds of military veterans by pairing them with a shelter dog that is specially selected to match his or her personality. Professional animal trainers rehabilitate the dogs and teach them good manners to fit into the veteran’s lifestyle. Training may also include desensitization to wheel chairs or crutches as well as recognizing panic or anxiety disorder behaviors.

In Argentina shelter dogs may be obtained from MundoAnimalia (http://www.mundoanimalia.com/perros_en_adopcion/Argentina/pais/5 ) and Adopción Pedigree. (http://www.pedigree.com.ar/programa-de-adopcion.asp)
El campito Refugio (http://www.elcampitorefugio.org/) offers the same adoption possibilities.


1-Colin, Chris- How Dogs Can Help Veterans Overcome PTSD-Smithsonian magazine-July 2012.tp://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/how-dogs-can-help-veterans-overcome-ptsd-137582968/?no-ist
2-Cortesi, Santiago -Zooterapia en Argentinahttp://www.foyel.com/paginas/2010/02/1267/zooterapia__zooterapia_en_la_argentina/
3-Dogs and PTSD-US Department of Veterans Affairs.
4-Gillette, James PhD, Weldrick, Rachel-- Effectiveness of Psychiatric Service Dogs in the Treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder among Veterans-McMaster University.
5-Healing vets and saving pets-Vets for Vets.
6-Judge, David L- Right to Emotional Support Animals in "No Pet" Housing-Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.
7-Kea, Grace-Service Dogs: Helping Those Who Served Our Country
Companions for heroes
8-La zooterapia, una tierna manera de apostar por la vida-Nestlé-
10-Macreae, Fiona- Dogs' hearts beat in sync with their owners says latest study to show having a pet is good for keeping healthy. Mail Online-1 May 2016.
11-Navarro, Alyssa-PTSD And Dogs: How Service Dogs Help War Veterans Cope With Life After Service –Tech Times-23 December 2015-
12-Pets for patriots.
13-Renson, Stephanie-Treating Veterans using Animal-Assisted Therapy: A Social Learning Theory – Based Proposal-Winona State University
14-Rescue Wolves Are Helping Veterans Heal From The Wounds Of
War. BarkPost
15-Ruzek, Joseph et al-Treatment of the Returning Iraq War Veteran-Chapter 4, Iraq War Clinician Guide-PTSD: National Center for PTSD
16-Service dog providers for veterans-Vets adopt Pets.
17-Service dogs, therapy dogs and companion pets for military veterans-Operation We are here.
18-Terapia Asistida con Animales(TACA)-Facultad de Ciencias Veterinarias.
19-What is the difference between a companion pet and a service animal?-The wet nose blog

Monday 5 September 2016

2016 - Life Lessons:How to Live Courageously

Life Lessons 

How to Live Courageously