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Animal assisted therapy: a look at the benefits of integrating therapy dogs into the treatment of adult women suffering from sexual assault related PTSD

By Megan House

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Category Theses
Abstract

Based on the statistical evidence listed above, the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center (2014) suggests sexual assault is becoming an epidemic in the United States. In regard to the statistical evidence, Bates (2014) believes that sexual trauma is better resolved with the aid of counseling or psychotherapy. Counseling or psychotherapy is offered to survivors in the hopes to contain or eliminate the anger, fear, depression, or anxiety that many people feel after experiencing sexual assault (2014). In recent years, studies (which will be examined later on in chapter 2) have been conducted regarding animal assisted therapy and the healing benefits animals have on patients suffering from trauma, more specifically PTSD. According to Kruger, Trachtenberg and Serpell (2004), “ Animal Assisted Therapy [AAT] involves specifically trained animals and professionals working as co-therapists” (p.4). AAT is based on the principal that human beings wellbeing can be improved through the integration of animals in the therapeutic process. Becker and Hughes (2010) describe AAT as “a interaction with a gentle, friendly animal, which can  instantly catalyze rapport building and trust, as well as brighten one’s emotional outlook”  (Para. 1). Due to the nature of sexual assault, trauma survivors often experience feelings of fear or lack of trust and are reluctant to seek help or talk to a health care professional  because of their belief that thinking or talking about their attack will be too painful and re-traumatize them.

Submitter

Katie Carroll

Date 2016
Pages 139
Publisher California State University Northridge
Department Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy
Degree Master of Science
URL http://hdl.handle.net/10211.3/159833
Language English
University California State University Northridge
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Tags
  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Animal-facilitated psychotherapy
  3. Animal roles
  4. Counseling
  5. Dogs
  6. Mammals
  7. Mental health and well-being
  8. Pets and companion animals
  9. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
  10. Psychotherapy
  11. sexual assault
  12. therapy animals
  13. therapy programs
  14. trauma
  15. Women