Animal Assisted Therapy
What is Animal Assisted Therapy?
Therapy dogs are not service dogs! Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) uses all kinds of animals (most commonly dogs) to help reduce stress and anxiety. AAT is used in multiple settings such as schools, hospitals, and with patients with disabilities and mental health illnesses.
AAT in Schools
Therapy dogs have helped increase engagement in schools with a reported increase in motivation for learning, which has resulted in positive outcomes.
AAT with Disabilities
AAT can be helpful in aiding those who have depression, anxiety, suffer from behavioral disturbances, or intellectual disorders; this is especially true if these individuals are from at-risk groups and lack social support structures (Maber-Aleksandrowicz, Avent, Hassiotis, 2016).
AAT in Hospitals
Along with the benefits of reduced anxiety and stress levels, AAT can also play a big part in helping lower blood pressure, heart rate, and overall cardiovascular health.
AAT with Mental Health
AAT has become popular for children and adolescents with or are at high risk for mental health illnesses. Studies have supported that children and adolescents with or at risk of emotional issues, depression, and anxiety can improve social skills, mood, and motivation with AAT.