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Animal-assisted therapy (AAT), also referred to as pet therapy, is a therapeutic intervention that involves interactions between patients and animals to improve physical, emotional, and mental health. This type of therapy has been shown to have numerous benefits for teenagers struggling with mental health issues, some of which include:

  • Mood Enhancement: Interacting with animals, such as petting a dog or playing with a cat, can help teenagers feel more relaxed and happier. This can be particularly beneficial for teens experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety.
  • Stress Reduction: Spending time with animals has been shown to reduce levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in the body. This can help teenagers feel calmer and more at ease, especially during times of high stress or pressure.
  • Improved Social Skills: Animals can provide a non-judgmental and comforting presence, which can help teenagers feel more confident in social situations. This can be particularly helpful for teens who struggle with social anxiety or communication issues.
  • Positive Distraction: Spending time with animals can serve as a positive distraction from negative thoughts or emotions, offering a break from stressors and promoting relaxation.
  • Increased Empathy and Compassion: Caring for animals can help teenagers develop a greater sense of empathy and compassion. This can improve their relationships with others and their overall emotional intelligence.
  • Sense of Purpose: Taking care of an animal can give teenagers a sense of purpose and responsibility. This can be especially beneficial for teens who may be struggling with feelings of low self-worth or purposelessness.
  • Physical Health Benefits: In addition to the mental health benefits, animal-assisted therapy can also have positive effects on physical health. Interacting with animals has been shown to lower blood pressure and improve overall cardiovascular health.

Animal-assisted therapy offers a unique and valuable approach to supporting teen mental health. Through interactions with animals, teenagers can experience a range of benefits, including improved emotional regulation, social engagement, and empathy. The non-judgmental support and companionship provided by animals can help reduce stress, enhance mood, and provide a sense of purpose. Overall, animal-assisted therapy can be a powerful tool in helping teenagers navigate the challenges of adolescence and improve their overall well-being.

For Information and Support 

Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. 

Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives. 


We are available to answer any questions you may have regarding mental health treatment and our residential program, anytime. Contact us today using the form to the right.

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