Pandemic Prompts Mount Saint Vincent to Expand Innovative Services to Help Communities Heal

Maggie O'Connor, Lead Animal Assisted Therpist and OscarMount Saint Vincent is an SCL Health Care Site affiliate and the Rocky Mountain region’s premier provider of mental health treatment, foster care services, individualized education and trauma-informed training for children and their families.

Mount Saint Vincent (MSV) already demonstrates our value of caring spirit each day through the amazing services they provide to children and their families, but they are kicking it up a notch with some new outpatient services. Starting in 2009, MSV began offering innovative and proven services to children ages 3 to 17, including animal assisted therapy, art therapy, dance therapy and more. MSV had seen great results in their residential program similar inpatient clinics and wanted to expand services to the community, especially at a time when families were needing additional support during the pandemic and seeking new ways to strengthen the parent/child relationship.

Services like animal assisted therapy are especially helpful in getting children to feel more comfortable and trusting with their therapist. “When you bring an animal into a room with a child, the entire dynamic can change,” said Jay Voigt, Executive Director at MSV. “The children see a dog feeling safe with the therapist, and they may feel more comfortable – ultimately opening the door for us to talk about and address core issues.”

MSV currently has five dogs and three guinea pigs on staff. The dogs are required to go through intensive training designed to help them understand certain behaviors that may mean a child is uncomfortable or needing special attention. The dogs serve as not only a fuzzy, cuddle buddy, but also an intelligent companion.

The outpatient therapies that MSV provides is open to any child and their family. If you or someone you know could benefit from an outlet to process challenging events (of this year or beyond), MSV experts are ready to serve with giggles, wags, awesome dance moves and so much more.

Sign up for our e-newsletter!

Get tips to help you manage your family's health, options to boost your fitness and advice to live your best life.