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Benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy

Animal assisted therapy refers to a therapeutic approach that involves animals, such as dogs or horses, to assist therapists in helping individuals improve their emotional, physical and mental well-being. There are several key benefits associated with this type of therapy.

Firstly, animal assisted therapy can help reduce stress and anxiety levels. Interacting with animals has been shown to lower cortisol levels, a hormone associated with stress, and release endorphins, which promotes relaxation and a sense of well-being. This can greatly benefit individuals struggling with anxiety or other mental health conditions, providing them with a soothing presence to help manage their symptoms.

Secondly, animal assisted therapy can enhance socialisation and improve communication skills. Many individuals, such as those with autism spectrum disorder or social anxiety, may struggle with social interactions. However, animals can provide a non-judgemental and comfortable environment to practice social skills and build trust. By engaging with animals, individuals can develop empathy, learn appropriate emotional expression and improve their ability to form connections with others. Therapists can guide and facilitate these interactions, supporting individuals in their social growth.

Lastly, animal assisted therapy has been proven to increase motivation, engagement and overall happiness. Animals are naturally engaging and can help individuals feel more motivated to participate in therapy sessions, offering unconditional support which can lead to increased self-esteem and self-acceptance. The presence of animals in therapy can also make the therapeutic environment feel more comfortable and enjoyable, increasing the individuals willingness to participate and invest in their therapeutic journey. Through their non-judgemental presence and interactive nature, animals play a crucial role in supporting those in therapy to work towards their treatment goals.

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