The Patrasche VZW is a non-profit organisation that since 2002 has been working in a special care context in which selected dogs are used to provide welfare services.
How we work
Our innovative counselling method is a targeted and healing way to help youth and adults with psychosocial problems get back on top.
When talking no longer seems to make sense, contact with animals under expert guidance can again give direction and form to the care process. People bind easier with animals because animals do not judge or condemn, and offer unconditional affection. This enhances the possibilities for dialogue, education, optimal development and the success of the healing process.
Based on this vision, we – together with the animals – create a no man’s land within peaceful and green surroundings. People can come here for our care programme, dog guidance and training programme.
The Patrasche Foundation only works with professionals, who have the specific knowledge needed to work with assistance animals. Our organisation is embedded in international networks and our guidance services extend across borders.
‘In contrast perhaps to what is expected, I am not so much motivated by the animals as by the search for a more efficient type of care. After working for years in traditional (for the most part) talking therapies, mainly in the context of special youth care, I became more and more baffled by the resignation with which the meagre success rates are accepted in this sector. Every day, enormous amounts of money, resources and human energy are invested in a type of care that neither I nor you would allow the ones we love to endure, for all sorts of obvious reasons. Consequently, I left that world behind and went in search of other, more authentic African and Asian locations, and precisely via these other places I hit upon the idea of creating a care context that is so fascinating, challenging and honest that it is irresistible … A context in which one can work hard on oneself, without realising it.
In my search for this context, I arrived at Dr. Aaron Katcher of Paul University who taught me about and exposed me to the power of working via animals and via a different care context. He was brilliant, both as mentor and as person. I did a traineeship at Green Chimneys in New York and, once back in Belgium, I established het Keerhof.
In the following years, we launched a dog project, a ferret project and a butterfly project. We worked as much as possible in the background, and welcomed extremely diverse target groups to our facilities. During this time, I was also able to develop, at VSPW/Balans, the ’working therapeutically with animal assistance’ training programme. We now do our work in the heart of the Flemish Ardennes with diverse types of dogs via an extensive and individual guidance programme, and we are ready to also offer the training in other countries.’