UAE: Dogs, tortoises help over 30 patients in first-of-its-kind animal-assisted psychotherapy programme

Therapy benefited women, children who experienced severe trauma in first phase


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Mon 15 Aug 2022, 2:28 PM

The UAE's first-of-its-kind animal-assisted psychotherapy program has successfully completed its first phase.

The Dubai Foundation for Women and Children (DFWAC) 's implemented this in cooperation with Dubai Police, Al Marmoom Initiative, and PoshPaws Kennels and Cattery.

The program benefited 30 women and children over the course of 131 therapy sessions and produced exceptional results.

The Animal-Assisted Psychotherapy program was launched in November 2021 as a complementary or alternative therapy to traditional psychological sessions.

Trained animals are used to improve the social and psychological condition of children and adults, particularly after experiencing severe trauma or bad events like disease, bereavement, violence, or abuse.

Sheikha Saeed Al Mansoori, Acting Director General of Dubai Foundation for Women and Children said, "We are pleased to announce today that the first phase of the UAE's first-of-its-kind "Animal-Assisted Psychotherapy" program was successful.

The program was developed to fulfill the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, who underlined the necessity of guaranteeing both individual and communal satisfaction as well as promoting coherence and integration among various local entities."

She added, "It is our mission to improve the adaptability and interaction skills of children who were victims of violence and exploitation through new and innovative approaches. Hence, we launched the initiative, which aims to enhance their ability to perform their social tasks and establish healthy and positive relationships with others and those around them, in addition to improving their mood, raising their happiness, and reducing psychological stress. The results of using the Animal-Assisted Psychotherapy were very positive in treating victims of violence and exploitation."


Major General Al Ghaithi, Director of the General Department of Organisations Protective Security & Emergency, also lauded the outcomes of the program's initial stage, which saw trained pets being used to treat humanitarian cases in collaboration with the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children.

He averred, "This comes in line with Dubai Police's commitment to enhancing mutual cooperation with various government entities following the directives of Lieutenant General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police,"

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