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What are your thoughts on Therapy Animals? Do you think they work?  A friend of mine suggested we get a therapy dog for our son, who has high amounts of anxiety and trouble sleeping.

Yes, I think therapy animals work! However, I think you mean an emotional support dog. An emotional support dog is an animal (usually a dog or cat, though this can include other common domestic species) that provides a therapeutic benefit to its owner by providing companionship. I have heard only wonderful things about them. My daughter has several friends who live in her college dorm and have emotional support animals. There are dogs, cats, and even bunnies!

Aside from the smell, I can’t see how having a warm living creature at your side wouldn’t be emotionally beneficial. Holding or stroking an animal can be relaxing, repetitive, and soothing. It helps regulate breathing and normalizes your heart rate, which is imperative for someone with anxiety. It can also help
alleviate loneliness and depression. Well-behaved pets provide companionship and unconditional affection from which everyone can benefit.

If you have the means and ability to properly care for and love an animal, then I can’t see many down-sides to getting one. Having a pet as a companion has been shown to be a wonderful mood elevator.

A therapy dog needs to meet a certain set of standards in order to be certified. There are therapy animals and then there are emotional support animals. Therapy animals require things that other companion animals do not. Make sure you check the requirements and laws in your local area. For example, some are not certified to be used as a service animal outside the home.

To be clear, emotional support animals are not trained to perform tasks for people who have emotional disabilities. The animals are not usually authorized to be in public places. But some places will allow them in otherwise “no pets” situations. Do your homework first! You don’t want to have to take away a pet once you give it to a child.

I have no sex life and I don’t even feel like masturbating. Weird?  Is it possible to wean someone back onto sex?

picasso-le-reveI’m so glad you asked! Not weird at all! And sadly, pretty common. Sex, like a drug or exercise, produces addictive happy chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins. The more you have it, the more you want it. If you go long enough without, you stop the cravings. Other things can be a factor to a low sex drive, such as menopause, hormones, low self-esteem, depression, alcohol, diet, and lack of sleep

or exercise.

So, what can you do to get back into the groove? Get back in touch (so to speak) with your body. Touch yourself. Love yourself. Fantasize. Give yourself permission to feel pleasure. Get a massage! (Even if it’s just a foot rub.) Swap massages with a friend if money is tight. Or go to a massage school for one that will be low-cost.

Do what makes you feel amazing. What puts the strut in your step? Is it red lipstick? A new item of clothing? Completing a challenging task? Maybe a day off? Exercise? Have lunch with an upbeat friend. Go for a power walk. Go dancing! Get your blood flowing. The better you feel about yourself the more you will want to touch yourself … and subsequently, the more people will want to touch you.

If you’re concerned there might be a deeper issue, or if this persists, don’t hesitate to consult a therapist or your medical doctor. Consider having your hormones tested. Make sure it’s not a side effect to a medication you are currently taking. Talk to someone about depression and lack of sexual desire. They may suggest taking herbal supplements to increase
your libido.

Now, go touch yourself!

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Author: Ali Dubin, MA, CPC

Ali Dubin, M.A., CPC is a psychospiritual, humanistic, intuitive, practical counselor and life coach working with individuals, couples, and families in southern California or by video all over the world. She lectures on love, self-love, giving and receiving love, and on love languages. Ali has worked with LGBTQ families for more than 25 years. She is also a professional freelance portrait photographer, a Second City-trained improviser, proficient in American Sign Language, and best of all, a mom to two daughters. She is currently completing her doctorate in Psychology-Marriage and Family Therapy. https://therapists.psychologytoday.com/277656 View all posts by Ali Dubin, MA, CPC

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