Camelid Assisted Therapy
Examples of Camelid Assisted Therapy:
  • A child with anxiety issues comes to the farm with her mother and works with the counsellor.
Using the principles of Camelidynamics the child is taken though a 6/8-week programme of learning how to handle and care for an alpaca. She learns that the alpaca is probably more nervous of her than the other way around and that she has to work on making it feel safe. Achieving this so that the alpaca will allow her to approach and handle it increases confidence, self-esteem and in addition she can project her feelings onto the alpaca, giving further opportunity to talk about her fears. 

The same programme can be used with trauma survivors, depression, drug and alcohol addictions and delinquent behaviour issues. 
  • A stroke victim who has difficulty controlling fine motor skills visits the farm. To improve these, the individual learns to stroke in a non-threatening manner ie using the back of the hand, hold a food bowl and feeds small quantities progressing from a flat open hand to holding individual treats.
  • In an animal-assisted therapy session designed to improve a client’s ability to sequence events, a client might learn the steps to putting a halter on a llama. Motivated by the opportunity to halter the llama himself, the client remembers the steps, and is encouraged to recite the order of events aloud as he goes through the actual sequence. 
  • A woman recovering from abuse is mistrusting of people, finding it hard to “read” them, is unable to form satisfying relationships and struggles with personal boundaries. Alpacas are consistent and clear in their communications, allowing an individual to start to trust a relationship. She develops empathy and so can start to recognise boundaries, both theirs and hers.
  • Alpacas and llamas may be used to motivate the client with walking difficulties who resists physiotherapy by asking the client to stand while stroking or brushing the animal’s back. To increase the client’s ambulation skills, the may client walk the camelid for short distances around the grounds. (The handler uses a double lead and walks alongside the camelid and client.)
As can be seen, the goals of Camelid Assisted Therapy can be incorporated into a variety of programs. The following are some further examples of Camelid Assisted Therapy goals:

Improve fine motor skills.
Improve wheelchair skills. 
Improve standing balance. 

Mental Health:           
Increase verbal interactions between group members. 
Increase attention skills (i.e., paying attention, staying on task). 
Develop leisure/recreation skills. 
Increase self-esteem. 
Reduce anxiety. 
Reduce loneliness.   

Increase vocabulary.
Aid in long- or short-term memory
Improve knowledge of concepts such as size, colour, etc. 

Improve willingness to be involved in a group activity. 
Improve interactions with others. 
Improve interactions with staff. 
Increase exercise.