How To Determine if Animal Assisted Therapy

How To Determine if Animal Assisted Therapy Is Right for You

Animal assisted therapy (AAT) involves using animals, mainly dogs, to improve an individual’s physical, social, emotional, and cognitive functions.

It facilitates healing by providing positive interaction, comfort, and support to those struggling with various ailments. Here are some tips to help you decide if animal assisted therapy is right for you:

Consider Your Activity and Comfort Levels

Individuals should consider whether they are physically and mentally able to take a dog for a walk, play tug of war, or pet an animal. These are all activities that typically take place during an AAT session.

Though the activities can be tailored to your ability level, having a certain amount of mobility and strength can significantly enhance your AAT experience. 

If you are afraid of animals or uncomfortable around them, animal assisted therapy may not be the right treatment option. Comfort and familiarity with spending time around animals can help patients make the most of the therapeutic experience.

Dogs can make humans feel safe, secure, and loved, but only if the person is comfortable around them. Some people may also be allergic to animal fur or have other medical conditions that make spending time with an animal challenging.

Research and Discuss Your Goals With Your Therapist

Take the time to research how AAT may help in treating your specific condition or disorder. Studying how the activities associated with AAT treatment alleviate various symptoms can help you better understand the process.

This can help you determine if it’s the right treatment method for you. Consider talking to people who have used AAT and experienced its benefits to help you better understand what to expect from the therapy.

You can find testimonials and reviews online or consult your therapist for anonymous patient feedback.

Your therapist can help you further determine if AAT is right for you by suggesting a treatment plan and animal-related activities that would benefit you most.

They can also provide insight into which animals would best help you reach your goals. Effective communication between you and your therapist requires transparency about your fears or concerns surrounding AAT.

This openness allows for an open dialogue that helps you and your therapist determine whether AAT is a good fit.

What to Expect From Animal Assisted Therapy

An AAT session involves a series of activities with an animal in a safe and secure environment. Dogs, the most commonly used animal in AAT, are specially trained to interact with patients in non-threatening and calming ways.

The main goal of each session is to establish a bond with the animal while performing therapeutic activities that facilitate recovery. The therapist will monitor the session and guide the patient on interacting with the animal and making the most of the experience. 

Some activities you can expect during an AAT session include playing fetch, tug of war, and other games. These activities help build trust and promote positive interactions with the animal. This helps relieve anxiety and encourages movement and exercise that can benefit your overall well-being.

The dog’s handler will guide you on how to interact with the animal appropriately. AAT sessions may also involve brushing the animal’s fur. Taking the time to pet and groom a dog can be a calming experience. It helps reduce patients’ stress and anxiety and teaches proper care of animals. 

Learning how to socialize with a dog properly can help patients build confidence and improve their interpersonal skills during AAT treatment. It also helps motivate and encourage the patient to interact with people in other social situations.

Socialization activities can involve talking to the dog, teaching them commands, and going for walks. Patients with extreme and terminal conditions may find solace in cuddling with a dog.

Sitting down and holding the animal close can be calming and comforting. Cuddling with an animal can help reduce the sensation of pain and loneliness.

Choose Animal Assisted Therapy for Improved Well-being

Animal assisted therapy is a great way to improve your social, emotional, physical, and cognitive functions. Its use of specially trained animals provides positive interaction and comfort to those experiencing various physical, mental, and emotional conditions.

Talk with your therapist today to assess your condition, fears, and goals and determine if animal therapy is right for you.