Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy: A Case Report -- Animal-Assisted Therapy

Janet Eggiman, BSN, MSN


October 12, 2006

In This Article


There is a perception in the healthcare community that the use of trained therapy dogs as an intervention results in benefits to both patients and staff. Research and documentation is sparse and consists mainly of testimonials and case reports. However, with the interest in using therapy dogs, research will be expanding. Case reports have stated that the use of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) employing therapy dogs can reduce anxiety; improve mood; and in children, improve behavior.[1] This was observed with the therapy dog that is described in this case report, Kotter, a 3-year-old standard poodle.

The article first discusses a brief history of AAT, followed by a definition of AAT and animal-assisted activities (AAA). This is followed by a review of current research, and finally illustrated by a case study in which behavior during therapy sessions changed with the presence of Kotter within the context of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques.


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