Animal assisted therapy (AAT) is a therapeutic process based on the patient's encounters with various animals, a triangle involving the client, therapist, and animal. The encounter is immediate, direct, and authentic, making the sessions comfortable, safe and free of judgement.
This experience allows spontaneous reactions in front of an animal which, without words, accepts a client’s story, beginning the therapeutic process where the client feels understood, supported, and free to be themselves. This acceptance, warmth and lack of judgment helps the client to bypass obstacles or resistance to treatment. Clients are less likely to be anxious and are comforted by the presence of an animal companion, often enhancing their motivation in therapy.
AAT may be used with individuals who experience emotional disturbances and behavioural problems, depression and states of stress, pressure, anxiety, family problems, social skills, learning disabilities, physical disabilities, impaired communication, PDD, ADD, ADHD, OCD, Down syndrome, PTSD, addictions and eating disorders. Victims of abuse and trauma, the elderly, those in rehabilitation, and others are allowed a reflection of mental, cognitive and behavioural processes that leads to a journey of growth.