Hazel is our resident therapy dog and belongs to our director, Liz Casteel, M.A., LPC-S. Hazel is a silver Labrador retriever who loves to come to the office, trot up and down the hallways, and say hi to folks visiting Nikaō. Hazel primarily camps out in Liz’s office, but she enjoys interacting with visitors in the waiting room or hallway in between sessions.
Studies show that animals can provide a sense of calm and comfort during therapy sessions, and if a client is having increased anxiety, a therapy dog can help divert attention away from the feelings of distress and anxiousness. Often times, clients can feel a true bond with a therapy dog, helping them utilize their therapy sessions more effectively. Some studies show that therapy animals can help people develop a better sense of self-worth and trust, help stabilize their emotions, and improve their communication, self-regulation, and socialization skills. This is the reason why we have found that having a therapy dog at Nikaō so helpful, and we assure you that Hazel is very friendly and affectionate towards everyone of all ages. We do understand that not all people have an appreciation for dogs. Therefore, please let your counselor know before your appointment and we will ensure that Hazel will not interact with you while you are at Nikaō.