Therapy behind bars

Prison inmates keen to try out new personal development course using dogs and artistic activities

Therapists Victoria Wilkinson and Susana Salamanca with two of the dogs (Mishka and Aisha) who will be used during the sessions

By Emma Randle

Young men in Almería’s El Acebuche prison will take part in a pioneering project combining art and animals to help them reintegrate into society on leaving.

The prison has signed up to the scheme, called ‘12 Steps to Sharing’ in a bid to find new effective ways of providing prisoners with “life skills”, according to governor Miguel Ángel de la Cruz.

The course, available for 12 inmates over a period of 12 weeks, is run by therapists Susana Salamanca and Victoria Wilkinson from Equisense life coaching association.

It combines creative therapy with animal assisted coaching in a “unique fusion” aimed at helping participants “channel emotions, communicate, and manage tension and anxiety”, according to Ms Salamanca.

The project was launched at the prison on Monday, where it was presented to around 40 young male offenders aged between 18 and 25.

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