What is Animal-Assisted Therapy
Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is an approach to mental health care that incorporate animals into the psychotherapy process, emphasizing the bond created during human-animal interactions. Emotional recovery and positive psychological transformation often occurs when the relationship between an individual and the therapy animal grows.
Understanding Animal-Assisted Therapy
People with a variety of conditions can benefit from animal-assisted therapy, including:
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Heart disease
- Developmental disorders
- Psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia
- Emotional and behavioral disorders
- Chronic pain
Animal-assisted therapy takes place in a variety of settings, including prisons, hospitals, nursing homes, therapeutic boarding schools for teens and mental health facilities. This form of treatment can take place individually or in groups, and is led by a qualified therapist or professional with specialized expertise.
Much more than simply spending time with an animal, animal-assisted therapy involves specific therapeutic goals, strategies and outcomes measures.
Therapeutic experiences can include walking, brushing, petting and caring for an animal, as well as processing the experience of trying to achieve a given task.
Animal-assisted psychotherapy can provide numerous psychological and physiological benefits. People who interact with animals for the purpose of therapy may experience improvements in health, including:
- Decreased stress levels
- Reduced anger and aggression
- Decreased hostility toward the self and others
- Improved social interactions
- Decreased heart rate and blood pressure
- Rise in release of beta-endorphins
- Improvement in self-esteem, patience, and trust
- Sense of empowerment
Why Animals in Therapy?
Improved mood and reduced anxiety tend to be consistent results with Animal-Assisted Therapy or AAT. Individuals who perceive hostility or disregard from other humans may come to accept the nonjudgmental and unconditional affection and attention from an animal, instead. Studies of AAT demonstrate these results in nearly all participants, regardless of age, the duration of the session, or the severity of symptoms. From Source.
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Koa is our licensed therapy dog who completed the training to help in all mental health needs. He is the sweetest labrododdle you will meet and loves scratches behind the ears. He sits in the sessions and you can pet him, touch him, or look at him at your own pace. He won’t push himself on you but he will never turn down a friendly hand.
Scientific Backing of Animal-Assisted Therapy
Key Benefits of Therapy at Exult
At Exult, we have multiple professionals who are licensed in helping you with our AAT. Here are some other benefits:
- Group therapy
- Individual therapy
- Access to on-site psychiatrist
- Providers work together
- Tailored program for your loved one
- Afternoon hours
- Yoga and Mindulness
We do take multiple insurances such as United, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, and Medicare but we suggest you discuss any major medical decisions with your insurance provider.
We offer medication management but we try to keep an open discussion between the client, therapist, and psychiatrist as to the needs of the client.