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Dog Assisted Therapy

Animal Assisted Therapy

Animal-assisted therapy can take place in almost any setting that best suits the client's needs, including hospitals, schools, and even prisons. However, it is a much deeper and more complex process than spending time with an animal and should follow a treatment plan and a set of goals as determined by an experienced professional.

The focus of AAT involves setting up ground activities involving the animal which require the client or group to apply certain skills.




 

Non-verbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking, problem-solving, leadership, taking responsibility, teamwork, relationships, confidence, and attitude are examples of the tools utilized and developed by AAT.

AAT is a powerful and effective therapeutic approach that has an incredible impact on individuals, youth, families, and groups.

AAT addresses a variety of mental health and human development needs including behavioural challenges, Attention Deficit Disorder, PTSD, substance use and misuse, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, relationship challenges, and communication needs.

Rehabilitation and Therapy

Focus is on the use and participation of meaningful activities to improve the quality of life of an individual in AAT intervention.




 

For these purposes, it is aimed to develop correct posture and walking pattern, mobility of the pelvis and hip region, head and trunk control, muscle tone and strength, sense regulation, social communication, self-confidence and empathy, motor, and cognitive skills.

 

It is thought that the ability of individuals to improve their skills, function, and quality of life can be improved by pet ownership, care of animals, and regular dog interaction during sessions.

AAT may involve adopting a pet to live at home, taking part in a community therapy animal program, or visiting a facility in which therapy animals live. This can also often provide an opportunity for patients to get mobile, socialise with peers, and even take part in gentle exercise. 


What are the benefits?


Animal-assisted therapy boasts many proven benefits, including:

  • Improved fine motor skills, strength, and balance.

  • Increased self-esteem and self-worth

  • Reduced anxiety and depression

  • Reducing experience of loneliness and isolation

  • Reduced risk of a heart attack or stroke

  • Improved interpersonal and communication skills.

  • Improved sense of purpose and motivation

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