Canine Assisted Therapy And Mental Health

1539 Words Apr 9th, 2015 7 Pages
Canine Assisted Therapy and Mental Health
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) (2013) defines Schizophrenia as one of the most common serious mental health conditions affecting men and women equally. It is a chronic condition that causes a range of different psychological symptoms including hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that do not exist) and delusions (believing in things that are untrue). These symptoms are often referred to as ‘symptoms of psychosis’, when an individual cannot distinguish between reality and their imagination (DSM, 2013). Wahashi et al. (2007) suggest that patients with schizophrenia often have difficulty in coping with everyday stressors and suffer emotional withdrawal and poor social functioning this can be particularly pronounced in patients living in an institutionalised setting (Wahashi et al. 2007).
Kovács et al. (2004) suggest the use of C.A.T within this patient group is varied. They explored the particular problems associated with institutionalised living namely decreased levels of activity, social functioning and social problem-solving strategies compared to non-institutionalised patients. The participant group comprised of seven patients working with a psychiatrist, a social worker, a dog and its handler. C.A.T took place over nine months. This was done at weekly intervals at the same time for 50 minutes. Assessment was made using the Independent Living Skill Survey (ILSS). Kovács et al. (2004) found that…
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