New Report Shows the Benefits of Animal-Assisted Therapy

December 22, 2015
The University of Chicago partnered with the Canine Therapy Corps to show how animal-assisted therapy can help youth overcome trauma and substance abuse


The Contemporary Justice Review published the article “Helping at-risk youth overcome trauma and substance abuse through animal-assisted therapy,” a study of the cognitive behavioral therapeutics behind animal-assisted therapy. Our partner organization, Canine Therapy Corps, served as the therapists in this study.

Read the paper’s abstract:

“Animal-assisted therapy is a goal-oriented adjunct to traditional therapy programs. This type of therapy has benefitted many populations, including children, adolescents, and adults, in their recovery from a wide variety of physical and psychological traumas. Examples include patients who are undergoing rehabilitation related to major surgery, serious illness, or debilitating injury and patients who are receiving treatment to overcome substance abuse, physical abuse, and behavioral problems. The purpose of this article is to show how animal-assisted therapy has been used with at-risk youths who participate in a treatment program for a variety of traumatic experiences, including abuse and neglect, as well as criminality and substance abuse. In the therapy program, the youths work through a structured, goal-oriented curriculum with certified therapy dogs and volunteer handlers. Together they complete progressively advanced tasks in which the youths transfer skills learned about dog handling to understanding and modifying their own behavior. The overall aim is to help the youths develop positive life skills and facilitate positive social interactions to help break the cycle of crime, violence, or substance abuse.”

To read the full report, download the report here.

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