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(Therapeutic, Education, & Career Services)

Animal Assisted Therapy

Understanding the difference between Animal Assisted Activities and Animal Assisted Therapy:  

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is not the same as Animal Assisted Activities (AAA), where volunteers bring their animals to visit with individuals in need. While Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is a relatively new field, much research has been conducted that demonstrates the power that animals can have in the emotional and physical healing of people.

Animal Assisted Therapy has been demonstrated to be highly effective for Child Counseling, Child Psychotherapy, Teen Counseling, Teen Psychotherapy, and Couples Counseling & Marital Therapy, Family Therapy as well as Individual Counseling and Individual Psychotherapy. Research has demonstrated that Animal Assisted Therapy is also very effective for treating Veterans, autism spectrum disorders, behavioral issues, depression, anxiety, attachment issues, and numerous other common concerns of our clients.

For some clients, all that is needed is to have an animal present in the room for them to feel calmer and more open. This can be true for adults, couples and families, as well as with children and seniors. In addition to their presence, animals can be integrated to develop specific interventions, aimed at meeting pre-determined therapeutic goals. 


How might Animal Assisted Therapy be helpful in your or your child's sessions.

  • The presence of animals lowers anxiety
  • Animals teach gentleness, caring and responsibility
  • Petting animals reduces stress
  • An animal’s presence can lower blood pressure
  • Children are more open and receptive when animals are present
  • Rapport building can be facilitated with children and teenagers
  • Self esteem can be enhanced through interaction with animals
  • Children with autism develop more prosocial behaviors through the use of animals
  • Animals can be used to enhance language and cognition
  • Attachment related receptivity can be enhanced with the use of animals
  • Healthy boundary development can be taught using animals
  • Animals can help reduce loneliness
  • The presence of animals can help to draw attention outward, thus mitigating: anxiety, anger, depression, and physical pains