Animal Assisted Therapy ( Aat )

2411 Words Oct 5th, 2014 10 Pages
Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is a form of therapy which promotes social interaction, as well as improvements in human social, emotional, physical and/or cognitive functioning, creates an environment where the client can disclose and experience empathy, trust, sensitivity, and comfort (Coetzee, Beukes, & Lynch, 2013; Pet Partners, 2012). Pet/animal assisted therapy has been traced back to the 18th century, with records indicating that in 1919 pets accompanied psychiatric patients in a Washington D.C hospital (Chu, Liu, Sun, & Lin, 2009). When therapy sessions are accompanied by the presence of an animal, the client enters a non-threatening, safe and trusting environment where self-disclosure of personal emotions and experiences becomes easier for the client (Reviewed by Coetzee, Beukes, & Lynch, 2013).
It has been recorded that animal assisted therapy programs have included the interaction with domestic, as well as exotic animals. Coetzee, Beukes, and Lynch (2013) conducted a study which involved animal assisted therapy with lions, wild dogs, tigers, mongoose, cheetahs, and ostriches for substance abuse inpatients in South Africa. However, most animal assisted therapy sessions include dogs, or horses. A service dog is trained to do work, care for, for perform tasks for people with physical or mental conditions which inhibits major life activities/functions such as: caring for one’s self, learning, walking, performing manual tasks, speaking, breathing, seeing, and working…
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