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Animal Assisted Therapy in the Treatment of Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

October 20, 2020 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm CDT

Roundtable Discussion

MisHell Coulcher, Flying Changes Development Coaching

Danielle Graber, Clinical Psychologist BMedSc, BSc(Hons), BPsych(Hons), MPsych(Clin), 12 Points Psychology

Kate Nicoll, MSW, CEO & Founder at Soul Friends, Inc

Linda Bell, Clinical Mental Health Counseling Student, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Washington, D.C. Campus

The goal of Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) is to provide long term group or individual therapy to individuals with a variety of mental health conditions. AAT uses evidence-based treatment modalities, for example, cognitive behavior therapy, solution-focused therapy, or trauma-focused therapy, coupled with a trained therapy animal to facilitate symptom reduction. Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) can be traced back to 1792, well-known pioneers in nursing and psychotherapy recognized the benefits of using canines in the treatment.

AAT is administered using a therapy team consisting of a certified therapy animal and a handler. A handler can either be the therapist or a trained individual who owns the dog and is engaged with the therapist to meet predetermined goals (Markovich, K., 2011). Pet Partners, which is a nationally recognized organization that trains therapy teams, states that AAT “…is a goal-directed intervention in which an animal meeting specific criterion is an integral part of the treatment process. Animal-assisted therapy is delivered and/or directed by health or human service providers working within the scope of their profession. Animal-assisted therapy is designed to promote improvement in human physical, social, emotional, or cognitive function. Animal-assisted therapy is provided in a variety of settings and may be group or individual in nature” (Pet Partners, 2012).

Please join us in exploring the use and implications of using ATT in the treatment of survivors of childhood abuse and neglect. In addition to using ATT in treatment ethical considerations will also be explored.

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