While working with animals in the field of mental and physical wellness, the knowledge of both AAT as well as AAI are important, doesn’t matter which specific field one wants to pursue in future.
AAT and AAA fundamentally are different from each other bust some of the aspects complement each other as well. AAT, i.e, Animal Assisted Therapy primarily focuses on improving quality of life in terms of social, mental and cognitive aspects whereas AAA, i.e, Animal Assisted Activities focuses on improvement of physical and lifestyle expenses where mental health and well-being are added benefits. The 2 most important factor differentiating between AAA or AAT are:
1. Health being a holistic matter
2. The method of therapy
Its is important to note that the no animal is specifically labelled as AAT animal or AAA animal.
AAT has the following attributes:
1. Goal directed process.
2. Animals draw out specific response
3. Nature of role more important than specific training of animal
4. There are different types of trained therapists and therapies AAA has the following attributes:
1. Specifically trained animal
2. Helps improve mood of the person and spread positivity
3. Offers physical support and along with natural and emotional support
4. Promotes socialization
Example: An animal with an handler may visit a residence where a tragedy has happened to calm down the family without the presence of a therapist will be considered as AAA, whereas an animal with a trained therapist when visits a home of an autistic children to improve cognitive functions, will be considered as AAI.
From the above understanding of AAA and AAT, what we understand is, that in both the scenarios, its our emotional state which ends up getting affected as well, in a positive way. As per layman’s definition, an emotion simply means ‘a strong feeling such as love, anger, fear, etc.’, but it is a lot more complex than that. Emotions are an indication of our feeling and often drives our physical actions as well. There are a lot of famous theories on emotions but the 2 most important are by Paul Eckman and Robert Putchik. Emotions can be understood the best by its subjective, physiological and emotional responses.
The amount of influence pets have on our emotional state is way off the charts. Only once we have a pet we realize how they drive our emotions in day to day life. From something very basic like coming home to a happy dog with wagging tail or something complicated like brushing a horse, it all affects a emotional state, rather improves it, by giving us a sense of unconditional love as well as personal achievement. Get Healthy, Get a Dog, a brand-new Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School and the Angell Animal Medical Center, delves into the many ways that dogs can improve the lives of humans. This report also covers the pet adoption process, canine nutrition, and ways to benefit from canine contact even if you're not a pet owner. With the guidance offered in this Special Health Report, owning a dog can be one of the most physically and emotionally rewarding relationships you’ll ever experience. It can be concluded that animals, despite their physical assistance role, do always provide emotional support and other health benefit such as low BP, low stress levels, lower depression, lower cholesterol, etc.