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Animal Assisted Therapy for Your Mental Health

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Animal assisted therapy may be beneficial for your mental health. Learn how pet therapy is used for mental health at HealthyPlace.com

Animal Assisted Therapy for Your Mental Health

Animals help human mental health. Animal-assisted therapy (AAT), sometimes called pet therapy, is a great tool for mental health help.

I’m sure you know of the service dogs that help the blind find their way or warn someone with epilepsy of a seizure before it starts. Service dogs aren’t the only helping animals. Others (primarily dogs but some cats, horses, llamas, or small animals) provide animal therapy or emotional support.

AAT: How Animals are Used to Give Mental Health Help

Animal-assisted therapy is mental health therapy that involves the use of a dog or other animal. A therapist or other professional owns the animal and takes it to various settings such as clinics, schools, hospitals, shelters, and more. If it’s a large animal, clients come to the animal and therapist. The animal is an integral part of mental health therapy for individuals and groups.

Emotional support animals are used by people who have a verifiable disability and need the emotional support of an animal in order to keep living independently. An emotional support animal isn’t a pet. It provides a specific mental health service.

Whether people interact with an animal through AAT or own an animal for emotional support, they can reap numerous benefits. Interacting with animals can help decrease depression and anxiety, improve mood, provide comfort, decrease loneliness, increase socialization, and so much more. Feeling connected to and grateful for these gentle helpers also boosts mental health.

Related Articles Dealing with Animal Therapy and Support

Your Thoughts

Today's Question: Have you experienced animal-assisted therapy (AAT)? If so, how did it help your mental health? We invite you to participate by sharing your thoughts, knowledge, and experiences on the HealthyPlace Facebook page and on the HealthyPlace Google+ page.


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From the HealthyPlace Mental Health Blogs

On all our blogs, your comments and observations are welcomed.

Feel free to share your thoughts and comments at the bottom of any blog post. And visit the mental health blogs homepage for the latest posts.

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That's it for now. If you know of anyone who can benefit from this newsletter or the HealthyPlace.com site, I hope you'll pass this onto them. You can also share the newsletter on any social network (like facebook, stumbleupon, or google+) you belong to by clicking the links below. For updates throughout the week, circle HealthyPlace on Google+, follow HealthyPlace on Twitter or become a fan of HealthyPlace on Facebook. Also, check out HealthyPlace on Pinterest and share your mental health pins on our Share Your Mental Health Experiences board.

back to: HealthyPlace.com Mental-Health Newsletter Index

 

Last Updated: 01 November 2017
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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