Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) Essay

Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) Essay

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For many humans, a pet provides unconditional love and affection. Others feel an overwhelming calming, happy feeling when they are around animals. According to The American Veterinary Medical Association, studies have shown that due to these positive emotions that are stirred, the presence of and interaction with animals can lower heart rates and blood pressure. Animals that meet specific training criteria can become an integral part of a treatment process for a variety of psychological and physiological problems.
Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT), which can be provided in a group or individual settings, is designed to promote improvement in a human’s physical, social, emotional, or cognitive function. An article by Chitic, Rusu, and Szamoskozi (2012) provides an analysis in order to determine the value of AAT. Both dogs and horses that were trained for AAT were examined and studied to determine their effectiveness in treating patients with psychological disorders. The results showed that both therapy dogs and horses were valuable aids to the therapeutic process. The analysis suggests that proper training and repeated sessions were necessary for proper treatment of patients. In addition, certain disorders may benefit more than others in regards to AAT. For example, a child with ADHD may not benefit from a therapy dog’s presence, for it may worsen the hyperactive symptoms. On the other hand, a patient with depression may benefit greatly from the same animal (Chitic, Rusu, Szamoskozi, 2012). These findings are a perfect starting point to answering the research question: Do patients who engage in AAT display a betterment in their overall emotional well-being, as well as show improvement in their interpersonal interactions...


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...dren with Pervasive Developmental Disorders." Western Journal of Nursing Research 24.6 (2002): 657-70. Print.

Motomura, Naoyasu, Takayoshi Yagi, and Hitomi Ohyama. "Animal Assisted Therapy for People with Dementia." Psychogeriatrics 4.2 (2004): 40-42. Print.

Tyberg, Amy, and William H. Frishman. "Chapter 6 - Animal-Assisted Therapy."Complementary and Integrative Medicine in Pain Management. By Michael I. Weintraub, Ravinder Mamtani, and Marc S. Micozzi. New York: Springer Pub., 2008. 115-24. Print.

O’Conner-Von, Susan. "Chapter 14 - Animal-Assisted Therapy."Complementary & Alternative Therapies in Nursing. New York: Springer, 2010. 207-23. Print.

Zilcha-Mano, Sigal, Mario Mikulincer, and Phillip R. Shaver. "Pet in the Therapy Room: An Attachment Perspective on Animal-Assisted Therapy." Attachment & Human Development 13.6 (2011): 541-61. Print.

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