Pet Therapy Can Help With Mental Disorders and Other Health Issues

Pet Therapy pic

Pet Therapy
Image: dogtime.com

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.

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The Benefits of Pet Therapy for People with Depression

Pet Therapy pic

Pet Therapy
Image: dogtime.com

Psychiatrist Christie Mensch focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental health issues. In treating patients, Christie Mensch and other mental health professionals use therapeutic approaches such as pet therapy.

Pet therapy, or animal-assisted therapy, involves the use of domesticated animals to treat psychological disorders such as depression. Here are some ways on how pets can treat people with depression:

Unconditional love – the attention and loyalty of a pet manifests the uncomplicated kind of love it has for humans. Unlike strained human relationships, pets are without judgment, thus encouraging individuals to freely express their innermost thoughts.

Responsibility – Being responsible for another being, such as a pet, helps people with depression regain direction and focus. Taking care of a pet also gives a person a sense of value and importance.

Companionship and social interaction – Depression leads people to isolate themselves from friends and loved ones. With a pet, patients are never alone. Having a pet also provides more opportunities for social interaction, such as walking the dog or visiting the vet.

Three Benefits of Pet Therapy for Patients Living with Depression

Pet Therapy pic

Pet Therapy
Image: webmd.com

At the Wyandot Center in Kansas, psychiatrist Dr. Christie Mensch offers a full range of mental health services for adult patients. As part of her commitment to her patients, Dr. Christie Mensch maintains a professional interest in pet therapy and similar approaches to mental health management.

Pet therapy is still an emerging science, but researchers are uncovering more and more ways that animals can help people who live with depression. Consider the following ways that a friendly companion animal can offer therapeutic support.

1. Pets provide an incentive for patients to remain active, even when they do not want to. Companion animals need exercise and recreation, which gives their human friends a reason to get up and move. Countless studies have verified the benefits of active lifestyles for people who have depression.

2. Pets offer companionship and unconditional love. They are friends and confidants, which can help people feel less alone. People who experience depression often become isolated, which can feel very lonely. Pets make people feel less alone.

3. Pets offer a physical connection. Current research suggests that people can benefit emotionally when they physically touch others. These benefits extend to furry friends, and additional studies confirm that petting animals can have positive impacts on blood pressure as well.