Dogs can be effective partners in helping college counseling centers work with students who seek help for feelings of anxiety and loneliness, according to a study co-authored by a member of the faculty of Georgia State University’s School of Public Health.
The study of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) found significant decreases in self-reported anxiety and loneliness after an AAT session, and interaction with the dog, a German Shepherd named Sophie, was found to be the most “impactful” element of the intervention.
The paper, “A Pilot Study Assessing the Effectiveness of an Animal-Assisted Outreach Program”, was published recently in the Journal of Creativity in Mental Health.
The paper was co-authored by Ms. Lindy Parker, an academic professional at Georgia State’ School of Public Health, who is also a nationally certified counselor and licensed professional counselor in the state of Georgia.
The study, conducted at a small arts college, found that animal assisted outreach could be a creative way to help college counseling centers meet the growing demand for services at a time of tight budgets.