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 of young people in their recovery from adversity and trauma, or just those who need a little bit of extra support. We offer pro-social companionship and unique relational development techniques to improve and maximise engagement, building peer to peer trusting relationships, so we are in a position to help support young people through any difficulties they may have, ultimately promoting therapeutic outcomes and enabling positive change.
Some of the young people we work with have lived through childhood trauma and adversity. 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 in partnership with schools to identify the young people who need support the most. However, during sessions we disassociate ourselves from the school or any form of authority allowing for honest and positive engagement. 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 platform, to build positive change, to build confidence, self-esteem, pro-social attitudes and behaviours, whilst helping to support with any underlying difficulties.
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 our specialist practitioners. 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, young people listen and take on board advice, we can even complete workshops. Once the trusting 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.