Christie Mensch currently works as a psychiatrist at the Wyandot Center in Kansas City, Kansas. Focusing on mental-health disorders such as depression and anxiety, Christie Mensch has a particular interest in pet therapy.
Pet therapy, or animal-assisted therapy (AAT), is a common alternative form of therapy in which domesticated animals are used to treat people with mental disorders and other health problems. Unlike animal-assisted activities (AAA), AAT is highly structured and goal-oriented. Through AAT, a professional handler guides and facilitates healthy interaction between the patient and the animal in order to reach specific goals as designated by the patient’s doctor or therapist. The most commonly used therapy animals are cats and dogs, though guinea pigs, fish, horses, and other domesticated animals may be used, depending on the treatment plan.
There are many benefits, both physical and mental, of pet therapy, such as increased self-esteem and improved motor skills. Pet therapy also can reduce boredom and anxiety by improving a patient’s mood and relationships.