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Animal Assisted Therapy Summary

Animal-assisted therapy also known as AAT   animal assisted therapy  

Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is an alternative or complementary type of therapy that involves animals as a form of treatment. Animals roles in society have commonly been companionship and work. Anecdotal and empirical evidence has demonstrated the human-animal bond can contribute positively on human's health and well-being. The goal of AAT is to improve a patient's social, emotional, or cognitive functioning. Advocates state that animals can be useful for educational and motivational effectiveness for participants. In a variety of settings, such as prisons, nursing homes, and mental institutions, animals are used to assist people with different disabilities. The most commonly used types of AAT are canine-assisted therapy and equine-assisted therapy. AAT is especially helpful in reducing the symptoms of psychological disorders, but most of the effects only last for a short period.Wilson's (1984) biophilia hypothesis is based on the premise that our attachment to and interest in animals stems from the strong possibility that human survival was partly dependent on signals from animals in the environment indicating safety or threat. The biophilia hypothesis suggests that now, if we see animals at rest or in a peaceful state, this may signal to us safety, security and feelings of well-being which in turn may trigger a state where personal change and healing are possible. A contrast is sometimes made with Animal assisted activity (AAA). AAA is more casual and unstructured than AAT, involving perhaps more than one patient and with the primary focus on the presence of the animal itself. By contrast, AAT includes a handler which together with the animal has been trained for the role. AAT is more structured with specific objectives for each session. However, in common usage terms like these for animal assisted interventions are often used rather loosely.

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