Kelly, M. A., Cozzolino, C. A. (2015). Helping at-risk youth overcome trauma and substance abuse through animal-assisted therapy. Contemporary Justice Review, 18(4), 421-434.
In this article, the focus is on conducting AAT treatment on youths affected by disaster with the study in relationship to children undergoing almost the same kind of trauma. The article starts with the application of AAT, through the cognitive behavioral programme, what the program is designed to achieve and how the programme will work. Here, AAT is regarded as a form of rehabilitation programme that is physical for children and other patients recovering from traumas such as disaster strike, shooting and even drug abuse on the youth. The recovery is also much dependent on the type of therapy dog used. The dog brought by the counselor to either a one on one treatment or in group treatment should be able to offer social mediation. The aim of the programme to the children just as to youths is to help gain back proper behavioral orders, positive life skills and good social interactions with others. The programme also according to the author Kelly is to teach the children and young adults skills in dog handling. By fast recovery through one on one sessions with the psychologist, the child undergoing therapy is expected to develop and improve communication skills that might have been interfered with when the trauma hit. Using a basic curriculum, the AAT supports cognitive behavioral properties. The procedure on how the therapy programme works is highly dependent on the type of interaction with the psychologist whether one on one or whether the children recover as a group. The session has to have laid down goals that are expected to be achieved at the end of the session. The application of AAT is greatly cognitive.
Like other sources, this source states that Animal-Assisted Therapy is an intervention that is goal-directed where there is the introduction of an animal in the process of therapy. Child trends continue to add that the AAT is mainly designed to progress change and adaptive operation as well as decrease social and cognitive problems. Target population which is children still at a tender age is given a health professional which is a psychologist. Like other sources above, the therapy is an intervention that is goal oriented. The therapist sessions are weekly and last for at least three months. The activities involve play activities cleaning, grooming and basic obedience to commands with an assigned dog. Evaluation and monitoring of the programme were done, and the results indicated that, as compared to children healing on their own without AAT, the children exposed to AAT healed from trauma at a much rapid rate. There was a significant decrease in the time spent in the hospital and an increase in social functioning. In addition, the effect of AAT on the [patient caused a more active interaction with the dog that was assigned to them and even an improvement in their language. These significant changes were taken at the end of the intervention period.
Dietz, T. J., Davis, D., Pennings, J. (2012). Evaluating animal-assisted therapy in group treatment for child sexual abuse. Journal of child sexual abuse, 21(6), 665-683.
Dietz et al. wrote about a study conducted to compare the effectiveness of the interventions of three groups on trauma syndromes on sexually abused children. Of the three groups, one group was given dogs to help in the process of treatment. The authors noted results that the children that were given dogs recorded a big decrease in syndromes that came with the trauma. Post-traumatic stress disorder reduced, fall in the level of trauma syndrome, and a few cases of anxiety and confidence, children who participated in other groups that had animals, continued to heal slowly. This is because there was no animal that the child in the group with no animal could interact with freely. The article goes ahead to show that AAT can be done to any child facing trauma as long as they can interact freely with the dog that is assigned to them. The effects of AAT on the children involved in the intervention according to this article was positive.
Moreover, one on one talk with the psychiatrist in a room with an animal was a success since more of the child's attention is captured. The children undergoing AAT develop good listening and overall concentration skills. There were reduced post stress disorders and that the health improvement was extraordinarily fast. However, with the positive results, there were implications of the Animal-Assisted therapy, but then suggestions for improvement have been put into place. The study was based not only on children but also on young adolescents that have been affected by traumas of life. The quality of participation between the dog and its handler determined the rate of improvement in health. The study of the three groups showed clearly that the group where AAT was conducted was the most improved health wise.
Tsai, C. C., Friedmann, E., Thomas, S. A. (2010). The effect of animal-assisted therapy on stress responses in hospitalized children. Anthrozoos, 23(3), 245-258.
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