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  • Writer's pictureKasey Pendexter

What is Animal Assisted Therapy?

Updated: Jul 30, 2022


The International Association of Human-Animal Interaction Organization defines AAT as “a goal oriented, planned and structured therapeutic intervention directed and/or delivered by health, education and human service professionals. Intervention progress is measured and included in professional documentation.

AAT is delivered and/or directed by a formally trained (with active licensure, degree or equivalent) professional with expertise within the scope of the professionals’ practice. AAT focuses on enhancing physical, cognitive, behavioral and/or socio-emotional functioning of the particular human recipient.”

AAT vs. Emotional Support Animal vs. Service Dog

AAT at Cory Cove Wellness:

Animal Assisted Therapy incorporates animal partners into therapy sessions as an intervention tool to assist students in reaching their treatment goals. The benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy range from relationship building to decreasing stress responses and beyond; animal partner interactions are based on individual client needs.

A study review through the National Institute of Mental Health from the years of 2000 – 2015 showed significant treatment gains for adolescents who experienced childhood trauma and had access to AAT in conjunction with mental health therapy. Unfortunately, evidenced-based studies related to AAT are sparse.

At Cory Cove, our licensed clinicians provide AAT based on each client’s individual need and comfort level. Interventions and objectives are written into treatment plan goals as well as skills taught through parallel work utilizing an animal partner. Each of our dogs have been raised since they were puppies to socialize with people in a variety of settings; in fact, Kasey implemented a robust AAT program within a residential treatment program utilizing both Dougie and Leo. Come on in to meet our AAT partners today!

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