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What are Therapy Partners?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2020
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Therapy partners can have different meanings. Many times the term refers to specialists who work together but provide different physical or mental health services. Animal assisted therapy is also sometimes known as working in partnership with the animal, and the human/animal relationship might be described as a therapy partnership too.

With the former example, there are numerous facilities where people work as therapy partners, and this can be of significant advantage to the client. A clinic requiring therapy aimed at recovering function of the body or improving in more than one area could have physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech language therapists and other specialists involved in treatment. When they are therapy partners, these specialists would offer a full complement of services and be able to coordinate varying types of therapy services as a team, usually in the same location thus streamlining care. There can be much benefit to using a facility where multiple types of specialist care are offered, and when care is planned in a team-based way, people can get more of a sense that all issues are being addressed at once in a holistic manner.

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Another pairing up or example of therapy partners is when mental health therapists (psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, counselors or marriage and family therapists) and psychiatrists work together. Many mental health conditions require both therapy and medication management. Sometimes such partners maintain the same office and patients would see the therapist and the psychiatrist that work together. In other cases, therapists and psychiatrists have a working relationship because they share some patients, but they don’t share their business. Over time therapists and psychiatrists who work in the same community typically get to know each other, especially in smaller towns, and they can express preference for working with certain specialists because they communicate well with them. This isn’t a true business partnership, but it is two related specialists working to provide care for the same patient and their communication together can be vital in reaching treatment goals.

A different definition of therapy partners is the animal/volunteer (or therapist of some form) partnership. When people use animals in therapy especially to visit the sick or those living in convalescent or other long-term homes, the person/animal team is often viewed as a partnership. There has been much study on the benefits of employing animals in improving health and mood and petting a cat, providing some care for a horse or getting to spend time with a dog has been shown to be beneficial and healing for many people.

Obviously visiting animals must work with an owner who can train the animal so it behaves beautifully in the presence of others. The owner must also be very good at chatting with people he/she meets, so that animal and person both provide a calming and therapeutic environment at all times. This is viewed as a partnership since the intent of the person and the training of the animal are meant to provide a dual therapeutic experience.

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