Monday, July 1, 2013

Dolphin Assisted Therapy is Bogus

“Imagine this. Jay, an eight-year-old boy with autism, whose behavior has always been agitated and uncooperative, is smiling and splashing in the pool. A pair of bottlenose dolphins are hovering on the surface next to him, supporting him in the water. With all the attention he’s getting, Jay is excited and in high spirits; he appears more aware and alert than ever before. Jay’s parents, who had given up hope, are elated to have finally found a treatment that works for their son. They sign up for more sessions and cannot wait to get home and tell their friends about the experience.” (Excerpted from Dolphins Are Not Healers, Aeon magazine). In this new review of dolphin-assisted therapy (DAT) in Aeon Magazine ( Lori Marino tells us that while the above scenario looks benign and encouraging – looks can be deceiving! Marino discusses her work with clinical psychologist Scott Lilienfeld showing that there is no therapeutic value to swimming with dolphins. She details the history of dolphins in mythology and how these ancient beliefs have fueled modern-day pseudoscience practices like DAT. The bottom line? DAT is a form of exploitation of both dolphins and desperate parents of disabled and sick children. Buyer Beware!

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