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Animal-Assisted Prolonged Exposure: A Treatment for Survivors of Sexual Assault Suffering Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

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This paper proposes the development of a new model of treatment for survivors of sexual abuse suffering from Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Foa, Rothbaum, Riggs, and Murdock (1991) and Foa, Rothbaum, and Furr (2003) support Prolonged Exposure (PE) as a highly effective treatment for PTSD. However, PE can be intimidating to survivors, contributing to hesitancy to participate in the treatment. This paper posits that animal-assisted therapy (AAT) will decrease anxiety, lower physiological arousal, enhance the therapeutic alliance, and promote social lubrication. The paper also posits that AAT will enhance the value of PE by making it more accessible to survivors, increasing social interaction, and perhaps decreasing the number of sessions required for habituation to the traumatic memories.

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/content/journals/10.1163/156853005774653654
2005-12-01
2016-12-05

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