What is Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT)?
The uniqueness of AAT is to include trained animals in the course of a therapy. Many studies have proven that interaction with animals can stimulate the production of endorphin and dopamine, the happy hormones in human beings, to help people relax, and feel happy and positive. It also helps to stimulate the production of oxytocin, which affects the motivation for social bonding and involvement, as well as creating the feelings of trust, love, and being loved. Through positive interaction with people, the animals will also gain great satisfaction by feeling their happiness, and thus creating a win-win situation for both sides.
AAT is not only about interacting with animals, but it combines the experience with professional intervention from the therapists (including psychological therapy, physiotherapy, and cognitive training etc.) to bring long-term and effective results.
AAT is most suitable for those who resists traditional counselling therapies, or those who have difficulty with engaging with people to build trusting relationships due to previous negative experiences. The truthfulness and non-judgemental nature of animals help the clients to relax and connect socially again, rebuilding their confidence.