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Use of Animal Assisted Therapy

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), animal-assisted rehabilitation or animal-assisted programs include animals including dogs to offer resources for inspiration, instruction, or leisure to increase a person’s quality of life. In such treatments, these creatures are an important part of the therapeutic mechanism and designed to enhance human physical, psychological, emotional and cognitive functions. However, AAT as a philosophical word in medicine is comparatively recent. AAT ‘s roots come from multiple age fields including psychology, economics, neuroscience, and later veterinary medicine.

In a previous post, we discussed AAT history from ancient Greece and the use of service animals to aid citizens resolve physical and mental disorders. The Greek philosopher Hippocrates found horseback riding practice calming and felt it had a healing aspect that might benefit those with incurable ailments. In this post, we would discuss how animal-assisted care is utilized in contemporary medicine and care to support individuals with physical and mental disease.

Animal-assisted treatment, what?

Animal Supported Therapy (AAT) is utilising animal encounters with individuals to help rebound from health issues to help people deal with such illnesses. Those treatment practitioners and clinicians who endorse AAT agree it has many benefits such as helping with personal and social growth, enhancing self-esteem, improving mental wellbeing, developing coping skills, and developing empathy and caring.

Some types of AAT require daily animal treatment, such as eating, brushing, and washing. Some examples of AAT involve an animal taken to a patient engagement clinic. For example, volunteers from ATD carry their therapy dogs to recovery centres, hospice clinics, hospitals , nursing homes, and other facilities to meet and connect with relaxed people.

Animal-assisted Therapy Father Dr. Boris Levinson

ATT pioneer Dr. Boris Levinson ‘s research in the 1960s concentrated on infant counselling sessions. When Dr. Levinson’s puppy, Jingles, was in the space during the children’s counselling sessions, he found the sessions were much more efficient. Ultimately, Dr. Levinson found that children isolated and had trouble coping became more at ease while Jingles was around and frequently sought to participate in discussion.

A pet is an island of wellbeing in a crazy universe. Friendship maintains the conventional principles and securities of one’s pet partnership. If a dog, cat, bird, turtle, tortoise, or what do you have, one may depend on the fact that one’s pet will still stay a trustworthy, personal, non-competitive companion, whatever happiness life gives us.

Initially, many Levinson ‘s colleagues opposed his work. However, Levinson defied critics and in 1969 he published a book named “Pet-Oriented Infant Psychotherapy,” thereby becoming the founder of animal-assisted therapy. In 1971, Levinson published a study of 319 clinicians, discovering only 16 percent included animals in their counselling sessions.

Animal-assisted treatment

Canines are commonly utilised in clinics, mental health institutes, and recovery facilities where their inclusion reduces feelings of terror, mistrust, anger , and hostility and helps enrich interpersonal ties. On a therapy dog visit, patients split their monotony and share moments that help them to withdraw from their sickness and feel comfortable and optimistic. The daily engagement with a dog keeps people engaged, encourages communication with reality, facilitates self-care, and increases physical well-being by keeping them satisfied.

On a therapy dog visit, patients split their monotony and share moments that help them to withdraw from their sickness and feel comfortable and optimistic. The daily engagement with a dog keeps people engaged, encourages communication with reality, facilitates self-care, and increases physical well-being by keeping them satisfied.

The results are so beneficial that gaols employ service dogs to minimise abuse, antisocial activities, suicide events, and opioid use. The dogs even do a lot to strengthen interactions with prisoners and guards. These sessions increase self-esteem by helping offenders cultivate understanding, empathy, and confidence, helping prisoners with their subsequent social reintegration. The effect of therapeutic dogs alongside individuals who volunteer as handlers, testers, and witnesses is invaluable in supporting patients across several care areas.

The supported therapies dogs give are focused on the human-canine relationship, where the puppy, as a companion, intervenes as a facilitator and motivator. Experts also prescribe certain therapies to benefit children with autism, at-risk teenagers, dementia adults, individuals with neuropsychological disabilities, and physiological diseases, among others. Dogs may help relieve tension and blood pressure in psychiatric treatments for children or adults. Furthermore, pets have a sense of love, a willingness to live, and usually boost the healing process. Some research, such as that performed by the Cynologique Internationale Association, still indicate functional benefits by showing how children who share their lives with dogs have more healthy immune systems in homes without pets.

Animal-assisted therapy ‘s potential

AAT gathers attention. For example, a 2011 survey from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC) and the State News Center for Wellness Information indicates that about 60% of hospice care facilities offering therapeutic treatments give patients pet therapy. Given AAT ‘s growing success, the gains from medication, neuroscience, and psychology remain hard to measure and “prove.” Therefore, many AAT researchers conclude the treatment is undervalued and that further studies can be done to support the effects of ATT. Fortunately, multidisciplinary study and studies on AAT ‘s advantages are ongoing. Here are some examples:

The 2003 American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias published a study that concluded:

Using the Cohen-Mansfield Anxiety Inventory and the Animal-Assisted Therapy Flow Sheet, the impact of a behavioural recreational intervention utilising animal-assisted therapy (AAT) on distressed activities and social experiences with dementia were investigated. For three weeks, 15 nursing home patients with dementia engaged in a regular AAT intervention. Results demonstrated statistically significant reductions in irritated attitudes and statistically significant improvements in pre-test social contact.

A 2009 research by Loyola University, Chicago, showed that adults who used canine counselling when healing from complete joint replacement surgery used 50% fewer pain medicine.

In 2010, Society for Psychological Anthropology Report conducted a pilot study investigating animal-assisted treatment for children with autism spectrum disorders. The research centred on how children’s relationships with pets, coaches, and family members supported their sociality and daily activities engagement. The research reported that adolescents with autism gain psychologically from relationships with support and therapy dogs.

Engage in animal-assisted treatment

As a leader with Therapy Dogs Partnership, you will play a crucial part in AAT ‘s future. Call us to learn how to create a difference.

January 31, 2017

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