Overcoming addiction can be a difficult journey, but with the help of furry friends, the path to recovery can become much smoother. Animal-assisted therapy for addiction treatment is a unique approach that has been proven to be effective in helping those battling addiction. Whether it’s spending time with a friendly dog or grooming a calm cat, the presence of animals has a positive impact on addicts’ emotional well-being and can even reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Furthermore, animals can provide a sense of comfort and companionship that may be lacking in the lives of those undergoing addiction treatment. By incorporating animal-assisted therapy into their treatment plan, patients can experience a renewed sense of motivation and hope that they may have never felt before.

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Animal-Assisted Therapy For Addiction Treatment ​

Research has found that there are several benefits of animal-assisted therapy for the treatment of addiction. Before we get into the benefits, let’s take a moment to discuss what precisely animal-assisted therapy is. 

Animal-assisted therapy is an effective treatment option that includes animals as tools for recovery. Programs have animals included in therapeutic interventions. Animal-assisted therapy can use a variety of animals, including dogs, cats, rabbits, horses, and dolphins. This form of therapy has been effective for a variety of mental health concerns, including cerebral palsy, Alzheimer’s, and those struggling with a substance use disorder. 

Research has found that animal-assisted therapy can enhance the therapeutic benefits of traditional treatment approaches. Participants often feel that their feelings of depression, anxiety, and aggression decrease during animal-assisted therapy. 

One of the most popular forms of animal-assisted therapy would be approaches that include dogs. Dogs can be trained fairly easily; they are friendly and intelligent. Research has found that interacting with dogs can cause our brains to release serotonin and endorphins, making participants relaxed. Feeling more relaxed can lead to individuals opening up more in therapy. This can help counselors learn more about you, and how they can help you move toward your goals.

Numerous outpatient addiction rehab programs in Kentucky offer animal-assisted therapy using horses. Many individuals who struggle with addiction have difficulties within their relationships, so forming a bond with an animal can help them practice the skills needed to form bonds with individuals in recovery. We know that horses do not respond well to strong emotions, so individuals are more likely to actively work on their emotion regulation skills. Again, this is another skill that can be helpful in early recovery. 

There are two ways that animal-assisted therapy is managed in an addiction treatment program. There can be an active schedule where the animals are brought into the treatment center, or they can live at the treatment facility. Either way, animal-assisted therapy is typically worked into your daily schedule. 

Addiction treatment programs recognize that animal-assisted therapy is not a good fit for everyone, so you would have the option not to include this in your treatment if it would make you more comfortable.

Explore Our Modern Drug Rehab in Louisville



Our intensive outpatient program helps those addicted to drugs & alcohol is finding a sustainable path to long-term recovery through continued, long-term treatment.



The outpatient program at Impact Outpatient Program is a step-down level of care program that incorporates the foundations of our core program on a less intense basis.

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Impact Outpatient Program offers multiple pathways to addiction recovery through traditional and evidence-based programming at our Louisville area treatment center.



Our intensive outpatient program helps those addicted to drugs & alcohol is finding a sustainable path to long-term recovery through continued, long-term treatment.

The Benefits of Animal-Assisted Therapy ​

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Now we can begin to discuss the benefits of animal-assisted therapy for addiction. Animal-assisted therapy can help individuals build their confidence and improve their mood. You may also find that you improve your communication skills by interacting with animals.

Individuals who are engaged in animal-assisted therapy may find that they are able to be present in the moment. This makes sense, if you think about it: to stay present, counselors will encourage you to use your senses, and if you are petting an animal, you can focus your thoughts on the movements you are making and the textures you are feeling. Practicing this skill in a therapeutic environment can make it easier to engage in a similar grounding process in your daily life. Being present in the moment can help you be more in tune with your emotions and thoughts, as well as reduce anxiety symptoms.

The benefits of animal-assisted therapies do have some variations for some different animals.

Impact Outpatient Program is a one-of-a-kind outpatient drug & alcohol treatment center that offers a path to lasting, sustainable recovery.

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Addiction Treatment Services In Kentucky


Addiction Treatment Services In Kentucky


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Find Lasting Recovery in Louisville​ ​

You will find our Louisville treatment facility, Impact IOP, is an outpatient addiction treatment program that treats individuals struggling with an opioid, alcohol, methamphetamine, benzodiazepine, and heroin addictions. Many of the individuals that we work with complete an inpatient rehab treatment program before they begin working with us. 

When you first come to Impact IOP, you will have an intake interview with one of our Counselors. They will ask you about your using behaviors, consequences of your addictions, health concerns, history of mental health concerns, relationships, and your daily responsibilities. This helps us better understand what to include in your treatment plan to make sure that your goals are being addressed. 

During this assessment, our Counselor will also be checking to see if you would benefit from any specialized treatment options. For example, if you have a history of mental health concerns, we will make sure that this is something we work with you to monitor. This opens the door for you to have a holistic treatment approach, which will likely benefit your recovery. Mental health concerns can often become an internal trigger for addicts and alcoholics, so learning to cope and manage your symptoms can significantly impact your recovery.

Additionally, we are able to provide you with a variety of specialized treatment options. We know that everyone’s addiction journey is different, and recognize that you will have personalized needs for your treatment. Because of this, we can tailor your treatment to any specific needs you have. This would include treatment options for men and women. Each week, your individual sessions will be an opportunity to focus on you and concerns that may not have been addressed in your group sessions. This can be a great time to work on mental health struggles, trauma and abuse you have experienced, and the chaos you experienced in active addiction.

After you have finished meeting with this Counselor, they will begin working on your individualized treatment plan. You will be able to continually adjust your treatment plan during your time with us. We understand that goals can shift over time. Over time, you will find that your treatment plan becomes more personalized to your goals and needs.

At Impact IOP, we offer an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) that includes 15-25 hours of group therapy each week, with one hour of individual therapy. Your treatment schedule will be dependent on your needs; our clinical staff will be able to let you know how many hours of group you are expected to attend each week. Our Kentucky IOP program will discuss relapse prevention skills and provide you with a supportive environment to discuss challenges you are experiencing in early recovery.

We also offer an outpatient treatment program that you can seamlessly transfer into once you have finished our IOP program. In IOP, we work to develop strong relapse prevention skills and increase your sober support so that when you move on to our outpatient treatment program, we are able to address other areas of your life. 

This can include working to improve your ability to communicate with those around you. Addiction is an isolating disease that can hinder our ability to communicate effectively with others. While in recovery, many individuals benefit from spending time talking about expressing themselves in a healthy manner. Group therapy provides you with a setting to practice these skills where you can receive honest and supportive feedback. 

Others may find that they need to focus on improving their status at work. Addiction can have a negative impact on work performance and productivity. No matter what your main focus is for you and your recovery, we will support you while you work towards achieving your goals.

Our clinical team is trained and experienced with addiction treatment and only uses approaches that have been proven effective with addiction treatment. Group therapy has been proven to be helpful for improving your confidence in social settings. Group therapy also gives you an opportunity to relate to others and observe similarities between your addiction and behaviors, which may provide you with a sense of validation. Seeing that you were not the only person to struggle can be powerful. 

At Impact IOP, we are able to combine our top-of-line addiction treatment program with animal-assisted therapy for addiction.


Let’s work together to help you find the best treatment options that fit your individual needs.


We take the time to learn about your needs and whether or not Impact is the best choice.


Whether or not you come to our program, our admissions team will help you, no matter what.

Impact IOP’s Animal-Assisted Therapy in Kentucky ​

Impact IOP is an LGBTQ+-friendly alcohol and drug treatment center in Louisville. We are passionate about what we do and work to provide you with compassionate and supportive care. If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, we invite you to call us at (502) 912-1038 to learn about our animal-assisted therapy in Kentucky.

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