Doc's turtle tricks help patients
FLORIDA – A psychologist from south Florida has found a unique way to treat some of his younger patients. With the help of his pet turtle, also named Florida, Dr. Mitchell Spero uses tricks he has taught the reptile to demonstrate some of life’s hardships.
The turtle has an array of tricks up his shell – like rolling over, playing dead and shaking hands.
Dr. Spero said people think he’s kidding when they learn of Florida’s tricks. But when it comes to helping patients, this turtle is no joke.
Dr. Spero and Florida helped one young patient understand her parents divorce.
Spero put a doll on Florida’s back and the turtle carried it back and forth between two dollhouses. This was to show the young girl that her mom and dad would have separate houses and she would be going back and forth between houses.
He compares the turtle’s speed to the progress of therapy – slow at times.
But a lesson can be learned for a turtle and children – rewarding good behavior works.
“You know turtles; they can be pretty difficult,” said Spero. “Kids are easy.”
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