Therapy Dog

Dexter is an eight year old Labrador Retriever trained and certified by K9 Support, and is a calm and affectionate boy. He can be included in sessions for adolescents or adults.

Dexter sometimes comes to work with Stephanie Zylstra in her role as a Clinical Psychologist, and he tries to make people feel calmer or happier.

Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is often used alongside other evidence-based interventions, like adding a booster shot to an already beneficial intervention!

Animal-Assisted Therapy can be a helpful addition to evidence-based interventions for many reasons, and across the research it has been shown to decrease symptoms of depression by 19-72%, anxiety by 21-65% and PTSD by 13-80%.

In Dexter’s spare time he loves eating all the foods, staring at other people eating food, planning how to get more food, and going for long walks with his mum, Steph.

Contact Us 08 8361 7008

Areas of Experience

  • Anxiety
  • Stress management

Qualifications and Professional Membership

  • Certified by K9 Support

Further background

Dexter’s presence in the room can help reduce anxiety or distress and improve mood, and he can provide a focus or help people ground themselves during periods of distress.

Dexter provides non-judgmental support and comfort in the therapeutic environment, and he is always happy to see people!

Dexter is happy to just be in the room on his bed, or he can sit with you for pats, or just lie at your feet – whatever you would like!

He is like a comforting piece of furniture!

Dexter’s and Stephanie’s Therapeutic Approach

Dexter can actually help you slow your breathing when anxious, and patting him will produce an automatic relaxation response!

Human-animal contact has been shown to increase oxytocin levels and lower cortisol levels, which leads to slower heart rate, lowered blood pressure, and a sense of calm and comfort.

This can lead to a reduction of reported anxiety or stress!

Like his mum, he sometimes likes to use humour as a tool; occasionally he will do silly things which can help reduce tension or anxiety in session.

Learn more about Clinical Psychologist, Stephanie Zylstra.