THE BAXTER PROJECT
The Therapeutic Animal Assisted Activities programme, affectionately known as The Baxter Project after our original companion animal, combines trauma recovery techniques, companion animals and physical activities with the aim to improve physical, emotional, educational and social wellbeing through companionship, ultimately using relational interventions to mitigate the long term impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and utilising therapeutic outcomes to assist in positive change.
Research indicates that ACEs and Childhood Trauma can have a significant impact upon children's cognitive, emotional and social development. As such these children can display low self-esteem and are more susceptible to stress, anxiety and social isolation, emotional dysregulation and challenging behaviour.
The Baxter Project is Trauma Informed, encouraging exercise and play, but above all rapport building. The programme works with schools to identify the young people who are most at risk of developing anti-social behaviours or attitudes offering them the opportunity to engage with a positive role model and a playful animal who are disassociated with any formal institution allowing for gradual relational work to be completed. Relational work is ongoing, peer to peer, trusting relationships are established in a low impact, low stress, therapeutic and nurturing environment. It is the quality of the relationships established that provide a 'secure base' or a platform, to build a pro-social mindset, to assist in trauma recovery and to communicate that adults can be trusted, initiating the development of positive engagement and attitudes.
What makes the programme unique is the involvement of companion animals, who themselves naturally promote self-confidence and reduce anxiety but most importantly, lower defences and bridge communication with the trauma recovery specialist. It is this presence of companion animals that facilitate the early relational work, we promote Consistency, Predictability and Reliability (CPR), resulting in stability and eventually trust. Once the trusting relationships are established, pro-social attitudes can be reinforced, anti-social attitudes can be challenged without the risk of retaliation and we can even complete targeted workshops, be it Managing Aggression or Consequential Thinking etc. Once this relationship has been established significant results follow.
WHAT MAKES US DIFFERENT?
What makes The Baxter Project's companion animals different to your usual school therapy dog is its focus. Where a school therapy dog can offer support to the masses The Baxter Project targets and works with the pupils who need the most support, the most challenging and the most vulnerable pupils. The combination of the companion animal, the disassociation from authority and our unique relational development techniques has been proven successful in every school with every demographic we have worked in, the pupils respond positively to the programme, we pride ourselves in our ability to engage the disengaged.
IN A NUTSHELL!
Our activities are meticulously designed to promote maximum engagement with young people. The Baxter Project is a bespoke programme, using innovative and unique techniques that expedite relational development and companionship, facilitating positive engagement, therapeutic outcomes and ultimately help support positive change.