Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is a complementary treatment that can be used alongside other evidence-based therapies, such as CBT and schema therapy. AAT is not used as a standalone treatment. During AAT, animals are present in the therapy room. Some of the benefits of AAT include:
- Help to improve motivation and engagement in therapy
- Animals provide a sense of security and emotional support
- Animals can promote relaxation
- Research shows that patting a dog can help lower blood pressure, heart rate and increase oxytocin (a feel-good chemical in the brain)
- Animals can help clients learn frustration tolerance and anger management
- Animals can aid in focus and attention
- Animals can support learning, self-confidence and self-esteem
- Animals can offer humour and fun due to playful natures
- Animals in therapy support clients to develop empathy, nurturance and responsibility and help to model skills such as forgiveness and patience
People who are fearful or allergic to dogs are not a good candidate for this treatment method.
If you are interested in being involved in AAT during your treatment at Broulee Psychology, please have a chat about whether this treatment would be appropriate for you. Not all clients will be recommended for this therapeutic approach.