ORCID Identifier(s)

0009-0004-5029-688X

Graduation Semester and Year

2023

Language

English

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Social Work

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Regina T Praetorius

Abstract

There is increasing evidence that animal-assisted interventions are helpful for mental wellbeing in reducing anxiety and depression. There is also a large body of research supporting the benefits of yoga for symptoms of trauma. However, there can be resistance to participating in yoga interventions because of insecurity or personal aversions to the practice. Also, yoga alone may not provide sufficient positive affect attributes to promote the needed change. The combined yoga and animal-assisted intervention of “Goat Yoga” has been popular for several years as a fun and uplifting activity but has not been studied for its influence on mental wellbeing. This study provides findings from an interpretative phenomenological analysis using interviews and surveys with nine participants to determine the personal experience of the phenomenon of “Goat Yoga” for its influence on participants’ joy and shift in perspective. The findings suggest a positive impact on affect regulation. Four core themes captured participants’ experience of the combined yoga and animal-assisted intervention: (1) Fun, (2) Inducing Calm, (3) Shifting Focus, and (4) Removing Barriers. The findings suggest that “Goat Yoga” is beneficial as a complementary therapy for depression and anxiety, especially for treatment-resistant conditions, but further research is needed to determine relevance across various populations.

Keywords

Goat yoga, Yoga for mental well-being, Yoga for stress relief, Animal-assisted therapies, Animal-assisted interventions

Disciplines

Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Work

License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Comments

Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Social Work Commons

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