Essay on Animal-Assisted Therapy in a Mental Health Perspective

Essay on Animal-Assisted Therapy in a Mental Health Perspective

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Most people are familiar with service dogs and have seen them in action. Animal-assisted therapy is similar service animals in that an animal-human healing partnership is being created. However, the difference is that therapy pets are typically used to treat a mental disability whereas people with physical disabilities use service dogs to help them in many ways. Therapy animals are used in a wide variety of places, such as, hospitals, prisons, nursing homes, therapy sessions, mental healthcare facilities, and even in people’s homes. These amazing animals are used on a wide variety of different disorders, but they are utilized mostly by people suffering from depression, anxiety, and PTSD. For people with these mental health disorders, everything in live can be difficult and challenging, however with the help of animal-assisted therapy, their mood, motivation, and life can dramatically improve. Anyone who hears about these brave, loving animals soon falls in love with them. From a medical standpoint, there have been many successful studies and the support for animal-assisted therapy still continues to grow in doctors and therapists across the nation.
In 1961, Dr. Boris Levinson, a child psychologist, became the “accidental” pioneer for animal therapy. One day he left his dog, Jingles, alone with one of his young, uncommunicative patients. When Dr. Levinson came back, the child was smiling and talking to the dog (Altschiller 3). This just shows how quick and monumental the effect of an animal can be. He believed that therapy animals provided, “unconditional acceptance and love” and they offered “a secure and warm environment for children and other patients, increasing their ability to adapt better psychologically to other people”...


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...mal-assisted therapy. However, the research that has been done shows positive signs that animal-assisted therapy does work. Animal-assisted therapy deserves our attention now and in the future, because as Dr. Michael McCulloch, another researcher for animal therapy, once said, “If pet therapy offers hope for relief of human suffering, it is our professional obligation to explore every available avenue for its use” (Altschiller 5).





Works Cited

"Animal-Assisted Therapy." Animal Assisted Therapy, Exploring the Therapeutic Link between Animals and Humans. American Humane Association, 2013. Web. 13 Mar. 2014. .
Altschiller, Donald. Animal-Assisted Therapy. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2011. Print.
Turner, Judith. “Pet Therapy.” The Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine. 4th edition. 2011. Print.

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