Animal Assisted Therapy : The Beginning Of A New Approach

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Animal-assisted Therapy: The Beginning of a New Approach Florence Nightingale was the first person to recognize the therapeutic potential of animals in the late 1800s. Nightingale is considered the founder of modern nursing which enabled her to make such discoveries by observing the impact animals had on her medical patients. She discovered that the company of a small pet reduced anxiety in children and adults that resided in psychiatric institutions and recorded her findings in her book “Notes on Nursing”. With Nightingale’s involuntary record of these human-animal interactions, animal-assisted therapy approaches began to flourish. The “father of psychoanalysis”, Sigmund Freud, was next to reveal the amazing discovery during the early 1930s throughout psychotherapy sessions. Although his view on the therapeutic benefits of human-animal interactions were not recognized for over two decades after the time of his death in 1939-- he is also a component to the beginning of animal-assisted therapy in mental health treatments. Freud believed that his dog—Jofi-- could “sense” tension from the patients and used distance as a method of signaling the occurrence. The farther away that Jofi would stand from the patient indicated the amount of tension that he felt from them and vice versa. Nightingale and Freud’s contributions to psychotherapy methods using animal-assistance did not end where they began. Dr. Boris Levinson made-- what was just a curiosity by some-- a legitimized
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