What is Animal Assisted Therapy?
Based on the journal Annals of Long-Term Care (through the American Addiction Centers) it is said that the potential therapeutic relationship (related to therapy) between humans and animals was first recognized and explored in the 1800s by Florence Nightingale.
Nightingale found that pets can reduce anxiety in psychiatric patients and children. In the early 1930s, Sigmund Freud was known to take his dog for therapy sessions with patients.
After that, then the therapy carried out with the help of animals is certified. So, nowadays it is easy for people to find access to animal-assisted therapy through programs and in various settings.
Patients can find ways of animal-assisted therapy through hospitals for various programs, from children with psychiatric problems to programs for healing related to substance or drug abuse.
Types of Animal Assisted Therapy
There are two types of therapy with the help of animals that can be done, namely:
The therapy that was carried out by Freud on his patients using dogs was later named Animal-Assisted Therapy (abbreviated as AAT).
AAT requires a chaperone, counselor, or therapist who is specifically involved and assists in this therapy.
As Freud did with his patients. AAT can be done with a therapist who has been trained and licensed by bringing together animals and patients.
The main goal of AAT is to improve the patient’s physical, emotional, social, and cognitive healing.
Pet Therapy or Animal-Assisted Activities
Some of the journals or health websites call pet therapy or Animal-Assisted Activities (abbreviated as AAA).
Pet therapy is not specifically directed at a particular goal, but can provide opportunities, motivation, education, recreation, or therapy to improve the patient’s quality of life.
Animals used in pet therapy usually come from volunteers who bring their animals which of course have been trained to schools or hospitals.
Animals in pet therapy are used to encourage and help faster recovery in patients who have just gone through surgery or a long treatment period.
In addition to bringing animals to a patient who has just gone through treatment, usually this technique or type is also applied in public places, such as placing a fish aquarium in the waiting room of a hospital or school.
Purpose of Animal Assisted Therapy
Although the role of animals and the way of therapy are different, between animal-assisted therapy and pet therapy have the same goal. Some of the goals of animal-assisted therapy are:
- Reducing stress levels;
- Reducing aggression or anger;
- Reduce self-hatred;
- Increase the patient’s social interaction;
- Reducing heart rate and blood pressure;
- Increase the production of endorphins in the body;
- Increase self-esteem, patience, and trust;
- Helping patients feel more empowered;
- Motivate to practice;
- Increase the desire to participate in an activity;
- Improve motor skills and joint movement;
- Improve verbal communication;
- Reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation;
- Reduce anxiety.
We already know what the definition of Animal Assisted Therapy is, the types of Animal Assistance Therapy, and the purpose of Animal Assisted Therapy.
After this, we will discuss which patients need therapy, what types of animals can help with therapy, how to prepare before therapy, the risks of Animal Assisted Therapy and how successful the therapy is.
All of that will be divided into 3 parts.
This is a link to the second part and this one is a link to the part 3.