How Animal Therapy Helps People

Animal therapy is an excellent resource for people who need support and connect with four-legged creatures. You may have heard of emotional support animals. People use a variety of different critters for this purpose; dogs, cats, horses, or other animals.

Pet assisted therapy can help with PTSD, anxiety, depression, and many other mental health concerns. When you live in a rural setting, you have more opportunities to explore raising different types of pets. Some can include livestock that can be mutual beneficial. 

Here is some information about animal therapy, how it works, and how it helps people.

What is animal or pet therapy?

Animal therapy is commonly called animal-assisted therapy. It can improve self-esteem, help an individual with verbal communication, helps children learn empathy, and can be a fun way to help people get exercise or go outside.

Pet therapy can help with so many different conditions. You may wonder how to get animal assisted therapy if you’re interested in doing so. It can be done in different kinds of environments, and there are various ways to access it.

two girls grooming a horse
Horse grooming is calming and a great bonding experience for the human and animal 

Getting your animal trained

For pet therapy, the animal needs to have had a physical exam and needs to go through training. It might need a training course or obedience lessons. There are certifications for animals used for therapeutic purposes, such as pet therapy certifications.

AAT and how it helps humans

AAT or animal assisted therapy can help with relationship building. When you’re in AAT, you learn to form a connection with your animal, and that can correspond to connecting with other human beings.

Animals have survival skills, and you can observe what they do in reaction to your behavior and model that when you’re interacting with people. It’s about establishing genuine connections.

AAT is not only done with cats and dogs

You can see an abundance of species in pet assisted therapy. It could be llamas, chickens, or a livestock guardian dog.

There are many different kinds of creatures you might be able to see in pet assisted therapy, and it depends on what resonates with you, what’s available to you, and what meets your needs the most.

Some people bond with horses, while others have an affinity to guinea pigs.

It’s crucial to select an animal that you like so that the therapy will be useful for your mental health.

If you’re choosing a creature because you think it will be therapeutic, but it’s not one who you connect with, the treatment won’t work.

Make sure you put thought into the animal you choose for pet therapy.

That way, you will be happy with the level of treatment you receive.

Your pet needs to be one who you bond with, and want to spend time connecting to during the therapeutic process.

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Where do you see animal therapy happening?

Pet therapy isn’t done in one place.

You might imagine it taking place on a farm or in private practice, but those are not the only places it happens.

You might see pet assisted therapy take place in a variety of settings, including nursing homes, residential treatment centers for adolescents, in a private practice setting, and more.

Animal therapy can help with so many different conditions and can be life-changing for many people.

If you’re interested in pet therapy, you can discuss it with your private therapist or talk to an online counselor about this as a possibility in online therapy.

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