Animal Assisted Therapy uses the animal as a motivating force in improving a client's social, emotional, and cognitive functioning. The bond between the human and animal is used as a tool in psychotherapy with children, adolescents, and adults. The use of therapy animals can be effective at creating a soothing environment and significantly contribute to building a positive therapeutic relationship between client and therapist. Therapy animals can also be helpful for educational and motivational effectiveness.
Therapy dogs are helpful in moving towards various treatment goals, such as improving self-esteem, developing social-skills, and helping manage anxiety symptoms and process trauma. Therapy dogs effect a person's physiological responses, such as decreasing heart-rate, which is helpful in therapy while processing trauma and other significant life experiences.