Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) : what is it?

Hettema, Elri (2002)

Thesis (MA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study focuses on existing research into the field of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) and attempts to provide a clear answer as to what animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is. In addition, the limitations of current research, as well as future opportunities for research in this field and some practical considerations for applying animal-assisted therapy are explored. The origin of animal-assisted therapy is examined. How the present terminology has developed in that it defines the use of animals in therapy as an adjunct to other therapeutic techniques is discussed in contrast to previous terminology, which created the impression that there was some form of managed process on the part of the animal. The terminology has developed from terms such as pet therapy and pet-facilitated therapy to animal-assisted therapy (AAT) and animal-assisted activities (AAA). The history of animal-assisted therapy is examined in relation to the three therapy categories of milieu therapy, physical rehabilitation and animal-assisted psychotherapy. The most common theoretical frameworks for AAT are also discussed. In general, systems theory tends to be the most favoured theoretical foundation for AAT. The typical target populations of animal-assisted therapy are examined in the light of target relationships. The six target relationships that a practitioner of animal-assisted therapy would need to manage are identified and their merits discussed: therapist-and-patient relationship; therapist-and-animal relationship; the staff-and-patient and staff-and-animal relationship; the staff-and-animal therapist relationship; the animal-and-patient relationship; and the application environment wherein these relationships are lived. The typical research designs for AAT are also discussed within the history of AATand successful research tends toward longitudinal studies wherein patients with similar diagnostic profiles are all exposed to a common form of treatment. The experimental group has some form of AAT in addition to the standard treatment whilst the control group continues with only the standard treatment. Comparisons are made against specific measurements such as degree of sociability and other indices. In general, the current research indicates a need for research characterised by better controls and the application of general research principles to supplement the abundance of anecdotal and case study reports on AAT. In addition, the practical application of AAT is also examined in relation to training and liability, office management and décor, animal well-being, and the necessary precautions to safeguard patients from possible harm. A critique of AAT is provided as well as the difficulties encountered in the practical implementation of animal-assisted therapy. The literature reviewed for this study confirms that animal-assisted therapy shows excellent promise, which increases when complimented by experimental endeavour in terms of properly evaluated AAT programmes. In terms of the future potential of AAT, the possible advantages of the implementation of AAT programmes into schools, prisons and working environments is raised. Related therapeutic adjuncts such as horticultural and natural therapy are also discussed. Fine (2000) was the most up to date and encompassing source for AAT and may be a good tool to guide future practitioners and researchers in the field of AAT.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: DIERE-ONDERSTEUNDE TERAPIE (DOT) -WAT IS DIT? Hierdie studie fokus op huidige navorsing op die gebied van diere-ondersteunde terapie (DOT) en strewe om lig te gooi op wat presies diere-ondersteunde terapie is. Daarbenewens, word die beperkinge van huidige navorsing sowel as toekomstige geleenthede vir navorsing op hierdie gebied. Praktiese doelwitte vir die toepassing van diere-ondersteunde terapie is ook geidentifiseer. Die oorsprong van diere-ondersteunde terapie word ondersoek. Hoe die huidige terminologie ontwikkel het in sover dit die gebruik van diere aangaan in terapie as adjunk tot ander terapeutiese tegnieke word bespreek, in vergelyking met vorige terminologie wat die indruk geskep het dat daar een of ander bestuurde proses is wat deur die dier uitgevoer word. Die terminologie het ontwikkel van terme soos troeteldierterapie en troeteldier-gefasiliteerde terapie tot diere-ondersteunde terapie (DOT) en diereondersteunde aktiwiteite (DOA). Die geskiedenis van diere-ondersteunde terapie word ondersoek volgens die drie terapiekategoriee van milieuterapie, fisiese rehabilitasie en diere-ondersteunde psigoterapie. Die mees algemene teoretiese raamwerke vir DOT word ook bespreek. Oor die algemeen, is sisteemteorie die sigbaarste teoretiese grondslag vir DOT. Die tipiese teikengroepe vir diere-ondersteunde terapie word ondersoek in die lig van teiken verhoudings. Die ses teikenverhoudings wat 'n praktisyn van diere-ondersteunde terapie sou bestuur word onderskei en hul relatiewe meriete bespreek: die terapeut/pasient-verhouding; terapeut/dier-verhouding; personeel/pasient-verhouding; personeel/diereterapeut- verhouding; dier/pasient- verhouding ; sowel as die toepassings omgewing waarin die verhoudings uitgeleef word. Die tipiese navorsingsontwerpe vir DOT word ook binne die geskiedenis van DOT bespreek. Die mees geloofwaardige navorsing neig tot longitudinale studies waarin pasiente met soorgelyke diagnostiese profiele almal aan 'n gemene vorm van behandeling blootgestel is. Die eksperimentele groep kry dan een of ander vorm van DOT sowel as die standaard behandeling terwyl die kontrole groep slegs die standaard behandeling ontvang. Vergelykings word dan gemaak volgens spesifieke metings soos mate van sosialiteit en ander persoonlike effektiwiteit maatstawwe. Oor die algemeen dui huidige navorsing op 'n behoefte vir navorsing wat deur beter beheer gekenmerk word, en die toepassing van algemene navorsingsbegrippe om as aanvulling te dien tot die oorvloed anekdotiese en gevallestudies wat die DOT literatuur betref. Daarbenewens word die die praktiese toepassing van DOT ondersoek met betrekking tot opleiding en verantwoording, kantoorbeheer en dekor, dierewelsyn sowel as die nodige teenmaatreëls om pasiente teen enige negatiewe gevolge te beskerm. 'n Kritiese ontleding van DOT word ook voorsien en die moontlike struikelblokke wat in die praktiese implementasie van diere-ondersteunde terapie ondervind kan word. Die literatuur wat vir hierdie studie nagegaan is, bevestig dat diere-ondersteunde terapie uitstekende vooruitsigte toon. Sover dit die toekomstige potensiaal van DOT aangaan, word die moontlike voordele van die implementasie van DOT-programme in skole, tronke en werksomgewings genoem. Verwante terapeutiese byvoegings soos tuin- en natuur-terapie word ook bespreek. Fine (2000) blyk om die mees resente en omvattende bron van DOT te wees en mag 'n goeie hulpmiddel wees om toekomstige praktisyns en navorsers op die gebied van DOT van 'n riglyn te voorsien.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/52673
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