The next time you visit a therapist, donít be surprise if thereís a dog in the room too. Psychotherapists are finding that animal assisted therapy really works.

Theyíre enlisting dogs and cats to help treat patients of all ages suffering from mood disorders, psychiatric illnesses, and even post traumatic stress disorder.

Why? Because playful, loving animals instantly help people relax, so theyíre more open to treatment.

For example, one psychologist we read about noticed major breakthroughs in her patients when they petted a cat during therapy. Also, she says that analyzing how a patient interacts with an animal allows her to dig into their issues, in a non-confrontational way. For example, if a patient gets upset that the cat won't sit in their lap, the psychologist uses that reaction to start a conversation about neediness, and the problems it might be creating in the patientís life.

Animal assisted therapy also makes depressed patients more social, reduces anxiety in patients with mood disorders, and reduces aggression and improves attention span in kids with severe ADHD.

And itís not just therapists who are teaming up with animals. The trend is catching on with all types of doctors. Because studies show that simply being in the same room with animals, even fish in tanks, can lower blood pressure and reduce stress.