Clinically Speaking is a blog that will allow anyone to learn about Social Work, case presentations in psychotherapy, and the relationship of pop culture in psychology. Come one...come all!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Dog's are a man's best friend...and Therapist? Pets and Therapy!

Weird topic right? Totally I agree. Yet it did catch your eye, right? When I read that there is significant impact a pet can have on a person's mental health I was immediately intriguing and very very skeptical of the impact it would have. Alas, let's go fetch a bone!!!!

I read via that animal assisted therapy has been able to decrease feelings of depression and anxiety due to the animal giving compassion during the visit which automatically makes a person feel happier. That's nice and all, but is there data to suggest that something more is going on?

As reported by psychiatrist Dr. Carole Lieberman, author of Coping With Terrorism: Dreams Interrupted. She noted that it has tremendous amount of impact on people who have been Dx with PTSD as she stated "Being around an animal can cause biochemical changes in our brains that make us feel calmer, safer and happier. In addition, caring for a pet can help take our thoughts off our own fears. “[When you] prove to yourself that you can take care of another living creature,” Dr. Lieberman says, “It “reassures you that you can take care of yourself.” This makes pet therapy especially useful for men and women coping with trauma such as returning veterans, who are relearning how to live in the civilian world."*1

OK, now we're getting somewhere, we are in the store looking around but I am not sure I want to buy what you're selling...

In a study that was conducted by Joan Esnayra Ph.D. & Craig Love, Ph.D. of A Survey of Mental Health Patients Utilizing Psychiatric Service Dogs, the results concluded that "Most are severely mentally ill by any number of reasonable measures. They are medicated but continue to experience refractory symptoms. Mood and Anxiety Disorders predominate. Importantly, a majority report that use of a Psychiatric Service Dog has diminished symptoms. A substantial minority report reduced psychotropic medication usage subsequent to canine partnership. This is true more so among those with anxiety-related disorders. This finding is consistent with the claims of Mason, who report that among a cohort of psychotherapists, animal-assisted therapy (AAT) was deemed most successful with clients who have Anxiety Disorders (Mason and Hagan, 1999)".*2

Have a good Wednesday!

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