The Role of Animals and Animal-Assisted Therapy in Stressful Life Transitions

  • Jeanine M. Miller Adams


Animals and pets have often played a significant role in the lives of humans. Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) has touched the lives of many people experiencing stressful life transitions. It is a growing form of therapy that benefits both the humans and the animals involved. This chapter describes AAT and how it impacts people and animals, provides case examples of how it has affected individuals during the stressful life transitions they have experienced, and explores theoretical perspectives applicable to this form of therapy.

Historically, William Tuke was the first to document the use of animal therapy in the eighteenth century. He believed the people in asylums received inhumane treatment and helped to make their lives better by encouraging them to take care of animals (Moore 1984). More recently, Boris Levinson (1962, 1969) began documenting therapeutic benefits for individuals receiving contact with pets and discussed the use of animals as adjuncts to his psychology practice. Currently, there are animal therapy programs across the country, and national and local organizations to sponsor and provide them, such as Therapy Dogs, Incorporated; the Delta Society; Therapy Dogs, International; and the National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy.


Autism Spectrum Disorder Inhumane Treatment Animal Program Home Health Aide Animal Therapy 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeanine M. Miller Adams
    • 1
  1. 1.LexingtonUSA

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