Animal-Assisted Interventions especially helpful for Vets, Amy Pfeffer says
Licensed Clinical Social Worker Amy Pfeffer is no stranger to stress.
A combat veteran, Amy Pfeffer became a cop in Rochester, New York. In 2009, Pfeffer earned the City of Rochester’s first-ever Top Cop award, for making 254 arrests in a single year, 50 more than any other officer on patrol in 2008, apprehending criminals suspected of crimes ranging from traffic violations to violent felonies to drug offenses. Then in January of the next year, Pfeffer saved the life of her partner Anthony DiPonzio, who had been shot in the head. Officer Pfeffer held DiPonzio’s arms and legs as he was rushed to the hospital.
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Amy Pfeffer Brings Skills as Vet and Cop to Her Work as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker
So, it is not surprising that Amy Pfeffer’s next career move was to earn an MSW from Daemen College. Pfeffer specializes in the treatment of children, teens, and families. She uses evidence-based modalities such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, EMDR, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Trauma-Informed Therapy to empower her clients to resolve issues related to ADHD, autism, adjustment issues, anger management, substance abuse, conduct disorders, depression, marital and couples issues, challenges of parenting, physical abuse issues, and PTSD.
Amy Pfeffer herself has a service dog. And she commends a program based in Williamsville, near her current hometown of Buffalo, called Pawsitive for Heroes.
Pawsitive for Heroes offers service dog training for vets diagnosed with traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD), depression, or anxiety. Pawsitive for Heroes charges no fees. All of its services are free for veterans.
Amy Pfeffer advocates for Animal-Assisted Intervention in combination with regular therapy for vets with PTSD. There is a biological basis for the effect of dogs on PTSD. Interaction between dog and human increases oxytocin levels in both the dog and the patient, reducing negative emotions, enhancing positive emotions, and increasing the sense of security. But that’s not all.
Dogs help vets open up. They are icebreakers for conversations, and a source of shared moments for vets and their friends and families.
Dogs need people. They give vets a healthy way to show that they care. And because dogs are always there, vets who have service dogs don’t have to go through flashbacks alone.
Amy’s service dog, Roxy, even assists her in her sessions. Pfeffer sees vets, children, and families in her practice in Western New York, where she lives with her husband and daughter.