Unique Manatee Co. PTSD treatment program uses parrots
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- These birds understand what these vets are going through.
- PTSD treatment program uses parrots
- “The more I spent with the birds, it kind of got me out of that, I didn’t think about that, my nightmares became less,” said Para.
- Birds of Paradise in Manatee County offers a PTSD program to help treat veterans like Para.
Birds of Paradise, a non profit sanctuary in Manatee County, offers a PTSD treatment where vets can bond with parrots.
@ParrotFund: #Parrots Aid In Unique Florida PTSD Treatment Program:
MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) For veterans battling PTSD, everyday life can be a challenge. Many battle anxiety and stress, and if not properly treated, it can have terrible results.
There’s a unique therapy program in Manatee County that can help vets in an unconventional way, by playing with parrots.
After Greg Para spent time in Afghanistan, the experience never left him.
“I couldn’t go out in crowds, I couldn’t go out with cars trying to just cut in. It created a lot of anxiety, because that’s what they would do in Afghanistan, try to cut into the convoys and separate them and blow up and all that stuff,” Para described.
And then, he made a feathered friend.
“The more I spent with the birds, it kind of got me out of that, I didn’t think about that, my nightmares became less,” said Para.
Birds of Paradise in Manatee County offers a PTSD program to help treat veterans like Para. The non-profit rescues parrots who in some cases were mistreated or traumatized. The vets who come here do volunteer work on the property and bond with these intelligent animals.
“They can understand speech and they can speak back to you,” said Birds of Paradise Executive Debbie Huckaby.
“Most people think of a service dog, think of the equine therapy. But none of those animals can talk. You have an animal that talks to you, it just brightens your day,” said Para.
A licensed social worker is also on hand to help these vets as they go through this therapy.
In a way, these birds understand what these vets are going through. They’re overcoming a rough past as well.
“The parrots are very intuitive, so instinctively, if there’s something wrong with you, they’re gonna pick up on that,” said Huckaby.
“The more they get to know you, they let their guard down, they start healing, you let your guard down, you forget that you are wondering if there’s a package over there that’s gonna blow up,” said Para.
These are men who sacrificed everything for our freedom and these birds are helping to set them free from the chains that are binding them.
They’ve had a few vets go through the program and it’s been wildly successful. This is one of the few of its kind in the country.
If you or someone you know would be interested in taking part in this program, contact Birds of Paradise.
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