animal assisted therapy

We’ve known for a long time that animals have healing qualities. Animals have been helping those with disabilities, victims of trauma, and many others for years. In a recent article by Psychology Today, Aubrey Fine and David Williams spoke about the power “animal-assisted intervention”–or animal-assisted therapy–has on ailments like teen stress.

How animal therapy can decrease teen stress and more

Animals have the ability to be used for many things. They can ease physical, emotional, and mental pain. They’re especially great for relieving young adult and teen stress. For example, many college campuses have areas set up during exam week that allow students to play with rescue dogs and cats. This has been shown to be not just a fun activity, but a fantastic stress reliever for such a high-stress time.

Another example is equine-assisted therapy. Many residential treatment centers for adolescents have integrated equine-assisted therapy into the fabric of their programming because of the massive benefits it has for learning social cues, understanding natural and logical consequences, and relieving teen stress.

Where’s the evidence?

It’s really hard to gather evidence about animal-assisted therapy because of the issues surrounding getting a non-treatment control group. Despite this, many have compiled various bits of research supporting the power of animals to affect teen stress and physical/emotional health.

In one meta-analysis, researchers found that animal-assisted therapy improved four areas greatly: medical difficulties, autism spectrum symptoms, emotional well-being, and behavioral problems. Many teens have issues in these areas, making this type of therapeutic intervention a great way to help them.

In a German study, it was found that therapy animals were able to lower stress levels and improve bonding. This proves that therapy animals have the potential to effectively relieve teen stress and relationship forming issues.
Though more research needs to be conducted–which many large scale projects are currently in the process–there’s enough strong evidence to show it’s an effective way to treat teen stress, anxiety, depression, and other issues.

Asheville Academy for Girls can help

Asheville Academy, a residential treatment center in a traditional school setting for girls 10-14, helps teen girls struggling with anxiety, depression and other emotional and behavioral issues. If your daughter’s worries about going back to school are more than just normal fears, consider sending her to Asheville Academy, a therapeutic boarding school. With a caring staff and a clinically based program, Asheville Academy can help your daughter feel comfortable with school.

For more information about how Asheville Academy for Girls can help your daughter, call 800-264-8709 today!