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Seeking Peer Review - The development and application of animal assisted therapy in human mental


The development and application of animal assisted therapy in human mental health saves lives!

The fast-paced life and the pressure to survive in modern society make many people be suffering from mild or severe mental illness and animal assisted therapy may benefit patients. According to cross-cultural studies, adolescence (13 to 23 years) is the main period of Social anxious disorder (SAD), which is particularly acute in Asian countries (Schmidt and Blanz, 37). SAD refers to the existence of significant, ongoing worries or fears in social situations or in pre-human performance that impede patient's normal life and social activities.

As well as autism, depression and a series of psychological diseases are affecting people's lives. Psychotherapy experts use animal-assisted therapies to carry out a large number of applied research and the results show that animal assisted therapy have a good effect in the treatment of depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, behavioral disorders, separation disorders, dementia, autism and some chronic mental illness (Balluerka, Nekane, et al, 104).

Animal-assisted therapy is a goal-oriented intervention, with the participation of experts in the field of health or social services, certain animals that meet special conditions are treated as a means of treatment and this therapy can be traced back to a long time ago. The earliest records of animal treatment can be traced back to 1699, John Locke pointed out that "give children dogs, squirrels, birds and other animals, so that they take care of, can encourage the development of children's feelings of love and responsibility to others (James, 4).

The United States psychologist Boris Levinson is the first to carry out animal-assisted therapy research. Levinson accidentally found a child come to treatment, who has communication difficulties, but get along very well with his dog. The child never spoke to him, but spoke fluently to the dog. This constant exchange with the dog became the key to the ultimate recovery of the child. Levinson believes that animals themselves are not the treatment, but it can play a role as social catalyst, trigger and promote social contacts, thus opening a way to explore the problem with the patient (Levinson, 1997).

Animal-assisted therapy are widely used in the field of psychology. Many psychologists, scholars use animal-assisted therapy to carry out a large number of applied research. From the late 1970s onwards, Anglo-American psychology, medicine, social work, rehabilitation and other areas carried out extensive research on the theme of "relationship between man and animal". In 1980, a study of 92 patients with heart disease found that patients with pets have a longer lifespan than those who do not have pets.

A study of 5741 cardiovascular patients in Melbourne, Australia in 1992 showed that arterial systolic blood pressure and glycerol triphosphate were significantly lower in the pet population than in the non-pet group (James, 717). Today, animal-assisted therapy has been widely accepted and widely used in psychotherapy, health care, education, rehabilitation, social work and other fields. By understanding the origins of animal-assisted therapies, the reader can be better persuaded that animal therapies are useful.

Animal-assisted therapy benefits patients with mental disorders, including depression, mood disorders, severe autism, and children who have been sexually abused. In 1994, Debra use shepherd dog to treat 44 students suffering from depression and the results showed that the effect of the treatment was better than that of the control group (Debra, 50). In 1999, Kaminski and colleagues used dogs to assist in the treatment of two boys with emotional disorders through a total of 14 talks and the two boys gradually became more confident, social skills increased, excessive activity decreased, the original bad behavior greatly reduced (Kaminski, Mary, Teresa Pellino and Joel Wish, 330).

In 1998, Kathryn gave regular visits with animal-assisted therapy activities to fourteen children with moderate to severe autism for 7 to 19 years of age and the results showed that children's linguistic social behaviors, non - linguistic social behaviors and interactive behaviors were higher than those without dogs, and the frequency of negative social behaviors was significantly reduced (Kathryn, 50).

In 1998, Elisabeth combines storytelling and animal-assisted therapies, lets the animals become a bridge between therapists and children, and encourages the girls to "expose their battered experiences and encourage them to express their feelings." These studies have fully proved that animal-assisted therapy in psychotherapy have a good effect (Elisabeth, 180). These studies have fully proved that animal-assisted therapy in psychotherapy has a good effect.

Animal-assisted therapy can choose a lot of animals, such as dogs, cats, horses, dolphins, birds, cattle, sheep, pigs, rabbits, goldfish, commonly used animal dogs, cats, select the appropriate animal is very important.

Dogs and cats are the most common animals that are raised by humans, and they have the closest relationship to humans. Because they are easily available, they are the earliest animal used in animal-assisted therapy. Dogs or cats used for treatment must be specially selected, rigorously trained, certified by a professional association, and issued with a qualification certificate (Velde, Beth P., Joseph Cipriani and Grace Fisher, 45). The psychotherapist must make a diagnosis of the patient, develop a detailed treatment plan, and adjust it at any time based on the patient's condition. Different treatment goals, the choice of animals are also different.

The use of horses for animal-assisted therapy is more complicated. First of all, it is important to have a certain venue, not only for the treatment of the place, but also the place of horse life (Bizub, Anne L., Ann Joy and Larry Davidson, 377). Horse's assisted therapy is an empirical psychotherapy. This therapy uses the horse's rhythm and activities in the design of some of the treatment plan to treat the patients with physiological, psychological, cognitive, social and behavioral problems. It includes a series of interactive horse activities: such as manipulation, feeding, training, driving, jumping, riding, etc., requires a certain place to carry out.

Second, the horse assistant psychotherapist therapist must be a licensed, professional mental health work certificate and holds a horse-related certificate of professional personnel (Bizub, etc., 377). Finally, the treatment horses are specially selected and trained, and a good relationship has been established with the psychotherapist, who will follow their schedule and will not cause harm to the patient (Bizub, etc, 377).

Animal-assisted therapy cannot naturally obtain therapeutic effect by simply letting the animals and patients play and communicate together. It must be conducted under the supervision of a psychotherapist and have a clear goal before treatment.

In children and adolescents psychological counseling, because the goal is to quickly communicate with children and adolescents as well as to understand their psychological barriers, it will choose lively cats, dogs, birds and other animals to strengthen communication between the two sides (Velde, etc., 46). In general, the age of the dog used for animal assisted therapy must be at least one year old. By the experts on the animal sitting, standing, kneeling, lying and other basic ability to test. Dogs or cats must be gentle, willing to get along with others, easy to adapt to a variety of environments. Vaccination was carried out, and no disease and parasites. If an animal develops aggressive behavior, growling, frantic, or neurotic, the treatment must be discontinued immediately.

In the treatment of behavioral disorders, the use of animals such as horses can help patients improve balance, strength, flexibility and level of action (Velde, etc, 47). Psychological counseling allows visitors to touch and cuddle the animals can make them feel relaxed and have satisfied sense of attachment (Velde, etc., 48). In the treatment of children with dyslexia, children are generally allowed to read aloud the contents of the book in the face of animals (Kaminski, etc., 330). As for the choice of books (such as age, reading level of the book), interest (can cause children's interest), the length of time to read together with the animals and so on should be determined by the psychological treatment experts, and then proceed according to plan.

Animal-assisted therapy has a function that cannot be replaced by traditional therapy. Animals facilitate effective communication between the therapist and the patient. Animals do not force people, with no demands and expectations, but it can bring warm feeling of goodwill (Allen, 891). The interaction and pleasure between human and animal make both sides feel happy and warm, this harmonious and happy atmosphere is very necessary in the treatment, but the traditional treatment is difficult to achieve (Allen, 891). Because in the traditional treatment, in the interaction between therapists and patients, because of the shackles of civilization, people cannot be completely free from the heart, cannot be completely in front of others behaved very naturally and cannot be completely free to decide and act.

Animal is a living therapeutic tool. In horse-assisted psychotherapy, it is through riding activities, through the coordination between man and horse action, through the interdependence between men and horses to achieve the goal of treatment (Bizub, etc., 377). Patients with aphasic speech can be trained to speak the language of the body and the names of the animals (Henry, 2014). Young people can take care of small animals to cultivate love, responsibility, social interaction ability, regulating impulsive behavior or split behavior, build self-esteem and strengthen self-efficacy. This therapeutic effect of animals is unique.

Animal-assisted therapy is particularly useful for counseling and treatment of children and adolescents. At present, the success of a large number of animal-assisted therapy case reports are targeted at children and adolescents. Practice has proved that animal-assisted therapy in children and adolescents counseling and treatment has good effect. Many psychological problems in children and adolescents is often caused by fear of adults.

In psychotherapy, the therapist needs to establish a trust relationship with the child, animals can be extremely easy to win the trust of children and can bridge the mind between children with mental disorders and therapists. Children think that animals are very attractive and are willing to be close with the animals. Into adolescence, young people's behavior is very rebellious, they have a strong exclusion of adults, do not want to communicate with adults, but willing to communicate with animals. Children, adolescents, and animals' communicate with each other is a natural instinct, and animals are more like their companions than adults, so that animals are more likely to gain the trust of children than adults, and this is the key to a breakthrough.

Animal-assisted therapy is still in the development stage, many aspects need to be studied. First, the therapy currently lacks uniform treatment guidelines. Although animal-assisted therapy has been widely used in practice, it need to be standardized in terms of animal selection, animal training, therapist qualification and other aspects. Relevant departments should develop relevant standards, promote the promotion and application of this therapy. Second, cultural and individual factors should be taken into account. Different cultures and different individuals have very different views and attitudes towards animals, which must be fully considered in the implementation of animal-assisted therapies.

In addition, the safety of treatment is also a matter of public concern. The control of parasite infection is the biggest obstacle to animal adjuvant therapy. Although the disease has not yet been found to be transmitted by animal adjuvant therapy, the problem cannot be ignored, do not let this therapy become the path of disease transmission. In addition, in the treatment, the therapist must also ensure that animal safety, to avoid the animals by the patient's abuse and injury.

Although the time of development and application of animal adjuvant therapy is not long, the practice proved to be very effective. As a developing treatment technology, many aspects of it need to be further improved, but this does not prevent its use in practice, because it is a large number of practical activities to promote it to mature. This paper will allow readers to understand the scientific basis of animal-assisted therapy, the use of methods and precautions to see whether they need or apply to the method. This paper will also encourage readers who are unwell in their minds or physiology to actively seek help from animal-assisted therapists.

Works Cited
Schmidt, M. H., and B. Blanz. "Anxiety syndromes in childhood and adolescence." Acta paedopsychiatrica 52.1 (1988): 36-43.
Balluerka, Nekane, et al. "Influence of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) on the attachment representations of youth in residential care." Children and Youth Services Review 42 (2014): 103-109.

Serpell, James A. "Animal companions and human well-being: An historical exploration of the value of human-animal relationships." Handbook on animal-assisted therapy: Theoretical foundations and guidelines for practice (2000): 3-19.

Levinson, Boris Mayer, and Gerald P. Mallon. Pet-oriented child psychotherapy. Charles C. Thomas Publisher, 1997.
Serpell, James. "Beneficial effects of pet ownership on some aspects of human health and behaviour." Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 84.12 (1991): 717-720.

Parshall, Debra Phillips. "Research and Reflection: Animal‐Assisted Therapy in Mental Health Settings." Counseling and Values 48.1 (2003): 47-56.
Kaminski, Mary, Teresa Pellino, and Joel Wish. "Play and pets: The physical and emotional impact of child-life and pet therapy on hospitalized children." Children's health care 31.4 (2002): 321-335.

Heimlich, Kathryn. "Animal-assisted therapy and the severely disabled child: A quantitative study." Journal of Rehabilitation 67.4 (2001): 48-54.
Reichert, Elisabeth. "Individual counseling for sexually abused children: A role for animals and storytelling." Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal 15.3 (1998): 177-185.
Velde, Beth P., Joseph Cipriani, and Grace Fisher. "Resident and therapist views of animal-assisted therapy: Implications for occupational therapy practice." Australian Occupational Therapy Journal 52.1 (2005): 43-50.

Bizub, Anne L., Ann Joy, and Larry Davidson. "" It's like being in another world": demonstrating the benefits of therapeutic horseback riding for individuals with psychiatric disability." Psychiatric rehabilitation journal 26.4 (2003): 377.

Neuringer, Allen. "Reinforced variability in animals and people: implications for adaptive action." American psychologist 59.9 (2004): 891.
Head, Henry. Aphasia and kindred disorders of speech. Vol. 2. Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Jan 4, 2017   #2
Shi, you need to revise your opening statement in order to present your thesis statement somewhere within that. Your thesis statement currently does not come in until the 3rd paragraph, which makes the essay improperly developed. For a properly researched paper, the thesis statement is always located in the introduction, without any additional information or in-text citations.

As far as your references are concerned, these are too old to be considered accurate research statements or results. As a rule of thumb, research information should never be older than 5 years old. That is because constant hypothesis, research, and results are being published as interest in the research topic becomes more widespread. Therefore, the most recent results of these studies are accurate only for a maximum of 5 years. After which, the information becomes irrelevant, questionable, or debunked so it cannot be thought of as accurate information anymore.

The topic you chose is highly interesting and really offers an opportunity to understand how canine therapy works. Although, I think it would be better if you focused the discussion on mental issues such as PTSD among those serving in the police or military. They are normally the ones who often need canine therapy dogs. If you want to go the medical route, you can cite the case of Carrie Fisher who, during her lifetime, suffered from Bipolar Disorder and as such, was assigned a canine therapy dog in order to prevent the onset of the mental attacks.
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