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Equine-Assisted Family Therapy

The field of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) has been growing exponentially in recent years, with research and clinical practice demonstrating the benefits of the human–animal bond for physical health, improvement of medical conditions, alleviation of grief and suffering, management of anxiety and depression, and a host of other issues. AAT encompasses clinical work incorporating dogs, cats, dolphins, turtles, elephants, and other animals, often as companion or service animals that aid humans in specific, task-oriented ways. As an outgrowth of AAT, equine-assisted psychotherapy was developed with an awareness of the specific physical and mental health benefits that contact with horses offers humans. While therapeutic riding and hippotherapy (physical, occupational, or speech therapy using horses) have long been acknowledged as therapeutic for individuals with physical limitations, incorporating horses ...

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