Did you know that Freud's dog was part of his sessions with patients?

Posted: Jul 22, 2015 in July 2015

People are often surprised to learn that Sigmund Freud engaged his Chow, Jo-Fi, in his psychotherapy sessions with patients; he described Jo-Fi's presence as having a calming effect (Coren).


Recent research has provided additional insight on the role dogs play in Psychotherapy.  Indeed, the presence of a dog has been shown to lead to physiological changes indicative of a reduction in stress (Beck & Katcher).  Petting a dog has been shown to increase oxytocin and dopamine levels in both the human doing the petting and the dog receiving the petting.  Humans had the added benefit of a decrease in cortisol levels (Odendall & Meintjes).      

In her role as a Therapy Dog, Pavlov has proved to be an integral component of my practice.  Intuitively, she seems to know when to snuggle close to someone who is crying, give space to someone who is feeling distracted, and provide a warm greeting to someone who has been having a rough day.