Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is a type of therapy that involves animals as a form of treatment. The goal of AAT is to improve a patient’s social, emotional, or cognitive functioning. Advocates state that animals can be useful for educational and motivational effectiveness for participants. A therapist who brings along a pet may be viewed as being less threatening, increasing the rapport between patient and therapist. Animals used in therapy include domesticated pets, farm animals and marine mammals (such as dolphins). The research literature states concerns about the poor quality of medical evidence underpinning One biophilia hypothesis is our attachment to and interest in animals stems from the strong possibility that human survival was partly dependent on signals from animals in the environment indicating safety or threat. The biophilia hypothesis suggests that now, if we see animals at rest or in a peaceful state, this may signal to us safety, security and feelings of well-being which in turn may trigger a state where personal change and healing are possible. There are many types of AAT ranging from the use of dogs, to cats, even to small animals such as fish and hamsters. The most popular forms of AAT include Canine therapy, Dolphin therapy, and Equine therapy.
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Handbook on Animal-Assisted Therapy: Theoretical Foundations and Guidelines for Practice. San Diego: Elsevier. p 3-17 Serpell, James (2000). “Animal Companions and Human Well-Being: An Historical Exploration of the Value of Human-Animal Relationships”. Handbook on Animal-Assisted Therapy: Theoretical Foundations and Guidelines for Practice: 3–17. Stanley Coren (2010), “Foreword”, Handbook on Animal-Assisted Therapy, Academic Press, ISBN 978-0-12-381453-1 Velde, B. P.; Cipriani, J.; Fisher, G. (2005). “Resident and therapist views of animal-assisted therapy: Implications for occupational therapy practice”. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal 52 (1): 43–50. doi:10.1111/j.1440-1630.2004.00442.x. Further reading Skloot, Rebecca (December 31, 2008) “Creature Comforts”, The New York Times