The Effect of Animal-Assisted Therapy on Mental Health

There has been controversy over the effectiveness of some mental health treatments. Research studies have shown that outcomes of treatment are not as effective in comparison to the effectiveness of physical health treatments. A therapy that is relatively new to social work is Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT). The body of knowledge has grown rapidly but is not sufficient enough for AAT to be a mainstream therapy. AAT can be used on its own or in unison with other treatments. Its use may improve outcomes for clients with a variety of mental health concerns. The aim of this study was to review the outcomes of AAT in the treatment of psychiatric patients. This was done by analyzing research involving randomized controlled trials of AAT involving people with various psychiatric diagnoses. Four articles met the inclusion criteria. The methods and outcomes of these articles were summarized, analyzed and compared.