Pet Therapy and Animal Assisted Interventions (IAA): the differences

Pet Therapy and Animal Assisted Interventions (IAA): the differences.


Pet Therapy is a form of therapy that makes use of animals as support in the treatment of various psychological disorders. It is a discipline born in 1960 when psychiatrist Boris Levinson found that interaction with his own dog, which he called ‘ Jingles ‘, had very positive effects on some of his younger patients. Since then, pet therapy has evolved to become a valid and administrable approach by specialists to treat the most varied ailments.


The main goal of pet therapy is to reduce anxiety and offer stress relief through displays of affection from animals. Interventions may include different types of animal encounters or physical or occupational therapy sessions with the patient. In conclusion, it can be said that pet therapy is also a great ally in mental health care .

Researchers are now studying the benefits of pet therapy on various vulnerable population groups; among these there is also the health personnel who often suffer from post-traumatic stress or burnout symptoms . The results of the studies suggest that exposure to the presence of pets can facilitate a significant improvement in the psychological well-being of the people involved.

What is Pet Therapy and what are the benefits?

Let’s start by clarifying what this incredible healing method is. Pet Therapy is an extraordinary therapy that makes use of the animal as a tool to promote well-being and health. In fact, it is used as an intervention to support the psychophysical care of patients and involves the use of highly trained pets in a controlled environment by a specialized operator 


This practice is based on the use of contact with animals to create positive relationships that lead to the elimination of stress, the improvement of cognitive skills, the increase of positivity in facing daily challenges and the recovery from trauma or illness. Animal assisted interventions are now widespread in the health and social fields: at school, in rest homes, in sports, in therapeutic communities and even in hospitals. In short, Pet Therapy is a truly innovative and effective model !

This therapy was developed by doctors and animal educators, who thought of an intervention to promote the psycho-physical well-being of the person being treated through interaction with animals Animal Assisted Interventions IAA) allow the individual to experience positive and constructive relationships, encourage self-confidence and offer essential emotional support. Additionally, Pet Therapy can be used to increase personal motivation and improve emotional control. These are just some of the countless possibilities offered by pet therapy: what are you waiting for? Your furry friend is ready to stay with you!

Animal Assisted Interventions (IAA): differences with Pet Therapy

Are you looking for an innovative and effective way to multiply your therapeutic possibilities? Animal Assisted Interventions IAA) offer a new method of care and well-being, which combines the benefits of pet therapy with psychotherapy or social assistance. This discipline is based on the relationship between humans and pets, especially dogs, in order to promote physical and mental well-being through natural and non-invasive contact. The IAA is aimed at various target audiences such as the elderlychildren , the chronically ill or people with disabilities. Through this type of assisted therapy, animals therefore become a valuable tool for increasing the client’s motivation, supporting his relational skills and improving his quality of life.


Pet therapy and Animal Assisted Interventions are two complementary but decidedly different concepts. Pet therapy is a holistic method that aims to promote people’s physical, mental and social well-being through the use of animals as a therapeutic element.

On the contrary, Animal Assisted Interventions are programs specifically designed by qualified personnel (psychologist, professional educator, doctor or veterinarian) to respond to the needs of the treated users. In these activities, clinically trained and expert animals are used to perform well-defined tasks. Interventions can include a wide range of activities involving direct interaction between assisted people and animals: from re-education to care to the expansion of socially significant skills.

Boris Levinson and his patient research

The great American psychiatrist Boris Levinson has devoted his career to helping his patients especially children. He was the first to understand the importance of an animal in a child ‘s life and has done extensive research on the subject. Since 1956, when Levinson began his research, he has found that interaction with pets is actually beneficial for patients with mental disorders or other conditions.


Levinson ‘s research was a turning point in the field of mental health and theories related to the interaction between humans and pets. His studies have led to the birth of the so-called animal-assisted therapy (PET), which involves the use of animals to treat mental disorders and be a valid emotional support for people in difficulty.


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button