Subject: Dolphin Assisted Therapy (fwd)

Mike Williamson (
Thu, 29 Jan 1998 12:45:33 -0500 (EST)


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 24 Jan 1998 11:32:28 -0500
From: william rossiter <>
Reply-To: Marine Mammals Research and Conservation Discussion
Subject: Dolphin Assisted Therapy

Dolphin Assisted Therapy (DAT), the use of captive dolphins in treatment
regimens for humans afflicted with a variety of problems (such as autism),
has been discussed sporadically on MARMAM, generally with a view to promote
a particular facility of practitioner. Within the field there appear to be
a number of  claims presented in a scientific manner that beg for objective
scrutiny. For example, the assertion that a person's fused skull
(Microcephalus?) was altered under dolphin-administered ultrasound
treatment. (See proceedings of 2nd Annual Dolphin-Assisted Therapy
Symposium, 1996)

The overall result suggests a biased and undisciplined view of the subject
of DAT, often leading to unrealistic assumptions and very real financial
commitments by prospective patients. I offer the following references with
the intent of balancing the bias and stimulating further discussion:

1)  Iannuzzi, D. and Rowan, A.N.  1991.  Ethical issues in animal-assisted
therapy programs.  Anthrozoos 4(3):154-162.

2)  Frohoff, T.G.  1996.  Behavior of Bottlenose (Tursiops truncatus) and
Spotted Dolphins (Stenella frontalis) Relative to Human Interaction.
Doctoral dissertation, The Union Institute, Cincinnati, Ohio.

3)  Frohoff, T.G.  1993.  Behavior of Captive Dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)
and Humans During controlled In-Water Interactions.  M.S. thesis, Texas
A&M University, College Station, Texas.

May I request that  MARMAMERs with experience or interest in the subject
provide me, directly or through MARMAM, with references, facts,
experiences, and opinions about DAT? I need your help to make an objective
analysis of the merits of this growing international business for a
contracted study.

Thank you,
William W. Rossiter
Cetacean Society International
P.O.Box 953, Georgetown, CT 06829 USA
ph/fx 203-544-8617