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Pets: A new breed of mental health therapy

posted Nov 26, 2019, 12:05 PM by Dr. Curtis Cripe

Dr. Curtis Cripe has devoted a considerable part of his life to the study of neuroengineering, with one of his ultimate goals being the sustainable management of neurological dysfunctions. He has also spent much time reading up on various treatments and therapies that have been known to attain a certain level of success with patients suffering from mental health issues.

For this blog, Dr. Curtis Cripe explores a new breed of mental health therapy – therapy pets. He notes, though, that just like all therapies, this is supplementary to appointments to mental health professionals, which are always required.

In a number of surveys taken, patients suffering from anxiety and depression have expressed a deep connection with therapy pets, especially dogs. Part of this connection is rooted in the person’s responsibility to care for the pet, making them cultivate a sense of purpose and achievement.

Then there’s also the ability of pets to tether people back to the world. Patients suffering from Alzheimer’s and PTSD often feel confused about their surroundings, as if reality has been fragmented. The presence of therapy pets reminds them that they do live in the real world.

Of course, the biggest and most significant role of therapy pets is to provide companionship. People suffering from any sort of trauma and its subsequent effects may rather opt to be withdrawn from the world, Dr. Curtis Cripe explains. Pets can help gradually bring them (patients) out of their homes and into the world again.

Dr. Curtis Cripe has a diverse multidisciplinary professional and academic background, having worked in aerospace, engineering, software development, bioengineering, addiction recovery, psychophysiology, psychology, and child neurodevelopment. More on Dr. Cripe and his work here.

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