Use of animal-assisted therapy in the rehabilitation of an assault victim with a concurrent mood disorder

Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2008;29(1):73-84. doi: 10.1080/01612840701748847.


Multidisciplinary mental health rehabilitation settings often encounter patients with complex comorbid medical and psychiatric issues that require integrative, multifaceted treatment strategies. Although medication and psychotherapy are typical treatment mainstays, a broader variety of therapeutic options are available, including animal-assisted therapy. Here we describe a patient who received animal-assisted therapy as a psychiatric rehabilitation tool to ameliorate his atypical depression following an assault and subsequent head injury. A review of the relevant literature highlights the therapeutic potential of animal-assisted therapy to restore and maintain patient independence and level of functioning, both of which are key treatment goals.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Animals, Domestic / psychology*
  • Antidepressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bipolar Disorder / complications*
  • Bonding, Human-Pet
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / complications*
  • Dogs / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nurse's Role
  • Psychiatric Nursing
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / complications
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / rehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Violence / psychology*


  • Antidepressive Agents