Skip to content Skip to navigation

Latest addition to addiction treatment: Wolf therapy

April 24, 2013
by Shannon Brys, Associate Editor
| Reprints

Promises addiction treatment center in West Los Angeles recently connected with Wolf Connection, a non-profit wolfdog rescue and youth empowerment program, and is now offering wolf therapy to young adults struggling with addictions and co-occurring mental health disorders. Clients have a unique opportunity to work alongside and hike with wolfdogs, wolves that have been bred with various dog breeds as “pets” and rescued when their owners mistreated or abandoned them or they were confiscated by authorities.

“What we do is bring people into the world of the wolf,” said Wolf Connection founder Teo Alfero. “What that means is you cease to be a human with all of your beliefs and past experiences and get to connect with an animal that takes you to a very primal level. At that level, it makes sense to trust yourself and others, it makes sense to give life another chance, to not take yourself too seriously, to consider what a mentor, coach or therapist has to say. Once that openness takes place, we start rebuilding from there.”

Wolves were man’s earliest teacher, and there is a great deal young adults can learn from wolves today,” said Kelly Seidlitz, the executive director at Promises West L.A. “Their interactions help repair many of the deficits caused by addiction, including empathy, communication, learning and self-esteem. By assisting with their care, clients also experience the rewards of giving back – a lifelong part of recovery. Getting out into nature and working with wolfdogs allows our young adult clients to let down their defenses and be present in the moment. In that moment, they are more open to trusting others and listening to what they have to say and, just like the wolfdogs, making the most of the second chance they’ve been given.”

Topics