Leander - Cedar Park | August 2020


Behavioral health benets of pet ownership

Pets help a child’s development growth towardwholeness,”White said. White said having a household pet can benet a child’s BY BRIAN PERDUE

After graduating from the clinical mental health counseling program at Texas State University-SanMarcos, ErinWhite has been a therapist for 14 years, focusing on children and adolescents. In 2012, she founded TheWhole Child Center in Cedar Park, where she works with children facing challenges that include trauma, anxiety, depres- sion and behavioral concerns. She is a licensed professional counselor and a registered play therapist supervisor. The center acceptsmost major insurers. “As a practice, we believe in empow- ering children and their families in their

development, teaching them skills and habits that can be applied to other aspects of their life.

Children can learn responsibility and aection from pets. (Kara Nordstrom/Community Impact Newspaper)


their relationships with other people in their homes,

“When they are successful in caring for and building relationships with their pets, children learn valuable skills they can translate into


schools and communities, leading to an overall boost in condence and competence,”White said.


Behavioral benets to children RESPONSIBILITY Erin White said caring for a pet, from feeding to walking to cleaning a litterbox, can teach a child about responsibility without it seeming like a lesson in growing up. “Behaviorally, learning about responsibility on such a meaningful scale is very impactful. Even young children can


TheWhole Child Center 1001 Cypress Creek Road, Ste. 201, Cedar Park 512-461-3970 www.wholechildcentertx.com Hours: by appointment Mon.-Fri. 9 a.m.-5 p.m., closed Sat.-Sun.

others is central to a person’s well-being— and pets can bolster that connection. “Being able to experience the unconditional love we can have with our pets strengthens children’s feelings of connectedness, and thus their sense of self-worth and emotional well-being,” White said.

understand the need for an animal to eat and drink, or to see a veterinarian when they are ill,” White said. “This is a task that children are often eager to participate in, unlike other kinds of responsibilities like homework or chores.” LOVE AND AFFECTION White said that feeling connected to

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