Image: Dr. Ron Rice, Clinical Psychologist, marital counseling, depression, sexual therapy, michiganOne of the joys of being a Psychologist in private practice is always having a dog with me as a co-therapist.  At the present time, Maya is my co-therapist.  She is a sensitive, caring, loving, trusting, and loyal Labrador Retriever.  She is almost two years old. 

When someone is depressed or tearful, Maya is there to help.  She often gets out of her chair, goes over to the patient and puts her head in their lap until the tears stop.  When the patient begins to talk about their feelings and thoughts, Maya goes back to her chair. 

Maya goes to doggy day care twice per week.  I had a patient recently who came for an appointment when Maya was not here.  The patient exclaimed, “Don’t schedule any appointment going forward unless you can assure me that Maya will be here”.    I thought the person was just joking around so I said, “you are not serious are you?”  The patient stated, “I am serious”.   In another case, I was doing some marriage counseling when all of a sudden the couple began shouting at each other. Maya began to bark loudly trying to indicate to them that she did not like this behavior.  I told the couple to stop not just because I am disappointed with this immature behavior but that my dog Maya does not like this, so please stop. 

Maya is just part of the therapeutic atmosphere.  Labrador Retrievers’ have to have a job.  In my office Maya greets every patient in the waiting room until I am ready to proceed with the counseling session. 

Maya loves her job and gets so excited at home when I say, “Maya are you ready to go to work”.  Her tail wags and she is beside herself and can’t wait to get into the car.  When we arrive at my office, she knows exactly where the office is located. 

Maya is such a pleasure to have in the office.  I often refer to her as my co-therapist.  When patients get to know her, they begin calling me the co-therapist. 

I hope you will have the opportunity of meeting Maya.  She will melt your heart.