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The Human-Animal Connection: Exploring Applications of Animal Assisted and Social Dog Therapies

A brief introduction to AAT and its applications to the counseling profession

Jasmine Harris

on 13 January 2016

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Transcript of The Human-Animal Connection: Exploring Applications of Animal Assisted and Social Dog Therapies

The Human-Animal Connection
Exploring the Application of Animal Assisted & Social Dog Therapies
Psychodynamics of Animal Assisted Therapy
Adapted from Figure 7.1 of
Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling
by Cynthia Chandler (pg. 134)
Where to Get Training & Other Resources
Advantages & Disadvantages
Decreased response to stressors: lower BP/HR/respiration rate, & lower cortisol levels
Reduction in loneliness
Less aggressive behaviors, increased prosocial behaviors (helping peers)
Can help with symptoms of anxiety and depression
Increased social interactions, communication, sensory motor skills, ROM,
Increased oxytocin levels, lowered threshold for oxytocin production
Therapeutic touch, sense of calm and relaxation,
Non-judgemental, transitional being
Reduction in stress for you! (Barker et al., 2009) 20mins w/dog vs. 20 mins at rest.
Client may have allergies, an aversion, or trauma memories related to therapy animal
The Human-Animal Connection
Science Behind AAT & The Human-Animal Connection
Cats are typically smaller than dogs and may be less threatening to clients

Can sit quietly in clients lap and may not require much activity

Cats may require less grooming than dogs
Therapy Cats & Other Therapy Animals
Equine Assisted Therapy
Continuous, ongoing relationship
Permanent, not sporadic or accidental
A significant benefit to both
Not a means to an end
Therapy animal and client bond is a social connection involving trust, affection, and communication.

This connection is based on a biological bonding process.
Canine Assisted Therapy
Animals of AAT
Canine Assisted Therapy
Equine Assisted Therapy/Hippotherapy
Therapy Cats & Other Therapy Animals
Dogs are the most common choice for AAT
Temperament- Friendly, affectionate, sociable.
Outwardly demonstrate emotion- tail movements, eyes, barking/whining, etc.
History of Animal Assisted Therapy
Social Dog Therapy & Animal Assisted Activities
What is Animal-Assisted Therapy?
The York Retreat
Incorporating animals in human treatment began in the late 1700s.
The York Retreat in England used small animals to help patients with impulse control.

Saint Elizabeth's Hospital
(Formerly "The Government Hospital for the Insane")
Goal directed intervention
Delivered or directed by the clinician
Designed to promote improvements in physical, social, emotional, or cognitive functioning

Source: American Veterinarian Medical Association
Boris Levinson paves the way to AAT
First hospital for veterans to specifically use companion animals to help individuals with "shell shock" and loneliness.
Pawling Army Air Force Convalescent Hospital 1944
Rehabilitation hospital established for veterans with physical and/or psychological injuries

Incorporated caring for farm animals and pet dogs

Began a dog training program for patients
Social Dog Therapy and Animal Assisted Activities
use social interactions between humans and therapy animals to facilitate better mood; these often include causal "meet and greets."

Dogs make people smile!
Topics of Discussion
Dianna Aideuis, LCSW, BSN, RN, Certified Advanced Children, Youth, Family Social
Worker, Certified Clinical Trauma Professional
New Hope Counseling Services
Jasmine D. Harris, B.A.
MS Candidate: Substance Abuse and Clinical Counseling
Department of Addictions and Rehabilitation Studies
East Carolina University
Terms & Definitions
History of AAT & Social Dog Therapy
Animals of Animal Assisted Therapy
Science Behind AAT & The Human-Animal Connection
Applications of AAT with Children & Counseling Approaches
Clinician's Perspective: Dianna Aideuis
Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT)

Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI)

Canine Assisted Therapy (CAT)

Social Dog Therapy/ Therapeutic Animal Visits

Pet Therapy

Pet Facilitated Therapy/Activities

Clinical & Colloquial Terms
Photo Source: http://www.jble.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/090130-F-3077W-070.jpg
Photo Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0f/RetreatOriginalBuildingssm.jpg
Photo Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4e/Center_building_at_Saint_Elizabeths,_National_Photo_Company,_circa_1909-1932.jpg
First to purposefully include animals in treatment and document the outcomes
Recognized animals could serve as a "cotherapist" to help facilitate rapport and foster the therapeutic alliance.
Pet-Oriented Child Psychotherapy (1969)
Photo Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/augie/66826909/
Often used in occupational and physical therapies, as well as speech and language pathology.
Helps clients with gross motor skills, attention, and neurological functioning
May benefit individuals with disabilities including autism spectrum disorder, TBI, cerebral palsy, etc.
Photo Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8d/Therapeutic_horseback_riding_2.JPG
Photo Source: http://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/images/48906?id=20641
Photo Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kluepfel/108260762/
Other small animals used in AAT
Photo Source:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/28/giant-rabbit-mini-pigs_n_3832458.html?utm_hp_ref=rabbits
Miniature pigs (Pot-bellied pigs) are easy to train.

Can be taught commands similar to dogs
Rabbits and other small animals require less attention

Easier to handle.
Connection Between Client and Therapy Animal
Based on Neuroscience
Can be terminated much like therapist-client relationship
Utilized for specific treatment outcomes
Oxytocin: The Bonding Hormone
Stimulates social bonding
Oxytocin deficiency linked to social isolation-autism
Associated with reduction in aggressive behavior
Involved in trust, sense of safety, calming effect
Biological Bonding Process
Positive social contact (interactions including nurturing physical contact/touch) stimulates the endocrine system in both client and therapy animal.
The connection between therapy animal and client is different than the connection between an individual and his or her pet.

Reduction in physiological arousal
Reduction in self-reported stress (decreased cortisol, heart rate, and blood pressure)
Increased motivation to engage in therapeutic process-compliance with treatment
Decrease in depression and anxiety

The Human Brain & Endocrine System
Responsible for hormone secretion
Emotional regulation, stress response, other physiological mechanisms

Photo Source: http://intranet.tdmu.edu.ua/data/kafedra/internal/chemistry/classes_stud/en/nurse/BSN/ptn/2/08.%20Investigation%20of%20molecular-cellular%20mechanisms%20of%20adrenal%20and%20sex%20glands%20hormones.htm
Photo Source: http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/mindup/pdfs/MindUP_K-2_Sample_Poster.pdf
Photo Source: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/06/Cortisol-3D-spacefill.png
Beetz et al. (2009)
Supporting Research for AAT
The Person Centered Approach
Participants: 31 children, age 7-12 with insecure attachment
Study: Different groups engaged in socially stressful situation (groups had support from a dog, adult, or stuffed toy dog)
lower cortisol levels
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Animals As Transitional Beings
Client becomes aware of relation to therapy animal-increases self-awareness
Client uses interactions with therapy animal and applies these interactions to situations
Therapy animal is accepting, actively affectionate, and non-judgemental-helps build trust and rapport with therapist.
Kaminski et al. (2002)
Participants: 70 children, mean age of 9.86 +/- 2.80, hospitalized (cancer, cystic fibrosis, trauma, transplant recipient/waiting list, other medical issues)
Study: 40 children participated in AAT, 30 participated in regular "child-life" therapy (play therapy)
Improved positive affect and mood (both observed and care giver or self reports)
Increase in physical contact ("warm, sensitive" touch)
Ongoing Research
Bass et al. (2008)
Marr et al. (2000)

Participants: 69 Adult with psychiatric diagnoses, age 20-66, inpatient substance abuse rehabilitation setting
Study: one group participated in a 4-week group with AAT; control was a 4-week non-AAT group therapy. researchers used the Social Behavioral Scale to measure differences in groups.
Increase in prosocial behavior including interacting with other patients, being more sociable, and improved affect and mood (observed smiles and self-reported satisfaction)

Berget et al. (2008)
Participants: 90 Adults with psychiatric diagnoses
Study: intervention group was assigned to standard treatment (medication management, individual/group therapy) with 12 weeks of AAT interventions with farm animals (3 hrs, 2 days/week), control group received only standard treatment
intervention group had increased self-reported self-efficacy and coping skills after intervention and increased self-efficacy at 6-month follow up

Banks, M. R., & Banks, W. A. (2002). The effects of animal-assisted therapy on loneliness in an elderly population in long-term care facilities. The Journals of Gerontology. Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences, 57(7), M428-M432. doi:10.1093/gerona/57.7.M428
Bass, E., 1965, Golding, H., & United States. Congressional Budget Office. (2012). The veterans health administration's treatment of PTSD and traumatic brain injury among recent combat veterans. Washington, DC: Congress of the United States, Congressional Budget Office.
Beetz, A., Uvnäs-Moberg, K., Julius, H., & Kotrschal, K. (2012). Psychosocial and psychophysiological effects of human-animal interactions: The possible role of oxytocin. Frontiers in Psychology, 3, 234. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00234
Chandler, C. K. (2012). Animal assisted therapy in counseling. New York: Routledge.
Geist, T. S. (2011). Conceptual framework for animal assisted therapy. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal, 28(3), 243-256. doi:10.1007/s10560-011-0231-3
Hergovich, A., Monshi, B., Semmler, G., & Zieglmayer, V. (2002). The effects of the presence of a dog in the classroom. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of the Interactions of People & Animals, 15(1), 37-37. doi:10.2752/089279302786992775
Kaminski, M., Pellino, T., & Wish, J. (2002). Play and pets: The physical and emotional impact of child-life and pet therapy on hospitalized children. Children's Health Care, 31(4), 321-335. doi:10.1207/S15326888CHC3104_5
Marcus, D. A. (2013). The science behind animal-assisted therapy. Current Pain and Headache Reports, 17(4), 1-7. doi:10.1007/s11916-013-0322-2
Marr, C. A., French, L., Thompson, D., Drum, L., Greening, G., Mormon, J., . . . Hughes, C. W. (2000). Animal-assisted therapy in psychiatric rehabilitation. Anthrozoos: A Multidisciplinary Journal of the Interactions of People & Animals, 13(1), 43-47. doi:10.2752/089279300786999950
Odendaal, J. S. J. (2000). Animal-assisted therapy — magic or medicine? Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 49(4), 275-280. doi:10.1016/S0022-3999(00)00183-5
Roman, M. W. (2010). Treatment of post traumatic stress disorders: Part II: Non-pharmacological treatments. Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 31(5), 370-370. doi:10.3109/01612841003675311
Sams, M. J., Fortney, E. V., & Willenbring, S. (2006). Occupational therapy incorporating animals for children with autism: A pilot investigation. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy : Official Publication of the American Occupational Therapy Association, 60(3), 268-274. doi:10.5014/ajot.60.3.268
Sargent, P., Campbell, J., Richter, K., McLay, R., & Koffman, R. (2013). Integrative medical practices for combat-related posttraumatic stress disorder. Psychiatric Annals, 43(4), 181-187. doi:10.3928/00485713-20130403-10
Yount, R., Ritchie, E., St Laurent, M., Chumley, P., & Olmert, M. (2013). The role of service dog training in the treatment of combat-related PTSD. Psychiatric Annals, 43(6), 292-295. doi:10.3928/00485713-20130605-11
Participants: 34 Children with Autism
Study: 19 Children participated in a 12 week therapeutic riding program (equine assisted therapy); 15 children on the program waiting list served at the control group
Increased sensory sensitivty, social motivation; decreased inattention and sedentary behavior
Basics of Person Centered Approach
Therapist shows client unconditional positive regard, congruence, and empathy
Help client move toward self acceptance
AAT with Person Centered
Having the therapy animal present and refraining from directives
Presence of therapy animal can have a calming effect
Client can interact with therapy animal at their comfort level without being directed
Therapy animal is a transitional being that helps facilitate trust.
AAT with Person Centered
Reflect the client's feelings from his/her interaction with the therapy animal.
Therapy animal and client interactions can be reflected back to the client to shed light on the clients feelings and/or thoughts
AAT with Person Centered
Use the therapy animal's behavior to encourage client to explore his/her feelings.
May evoke strong emotions
Facilitates insight
CBT Basics
Help the client identify and challenge irrational beliefs
Client practices new behaviors
New behaviors, communication skills,
and social skills can be practiced with the therapy animal.

Practicing with the therapy animal may be fun for the client and less stressful.
Therapist can help client gain insight into unproductive and dysfunctional behaviors by encouraging client awareness of his/her interactions with the therapy animal
Family Therapy
Family Therapy
Problems arise from issues with boundaries, roles, and rules.
Client exists within a system
Changes in one part of the system will impact the entire system
Family Therapy & AAT
Client's (specifically children) can tell their stories/experiences to the therapy animal
Less threatening to tell story to therapy animal
Calming effect of positive physical contact (petting) the therapy animal
Family Therapy & AAT
Have the family or client "teach" the therapy animal a trick or command.
How the family completes the task will shed light on how they communicate and interact
Reflecting on the interaction with the therapy animal can emphasize the families rules, roles, and power.
May also open up an opportunity for enactments.

Hergovich et al. (2002)
Participants: 46 first-grade children
Study: one classroom had a "classroom dog"; the control group was a classroom without a dog.
Increased social interaction, less aggression, increased empathy, and more autonomous functioning.
Sams et al. (2006)
Participants: 22 children, age 7-12 with autism
Study: All 22 children participated in OT groups with and without therapy animals
Increased social interaction
Increased use of language
Increased sensory motor function
Dr. Dr. Krause-Parello
Behavioral and Psychobiologic Effects of Animal-Assisted Therapy on Traumatic Stress Disorder in Child Survivors of Sexual Abuse
Relationships Among Loneliness, Human Social Support, Pet Attachment Support, and Subjective Well-being in Older Adults
American Veterinary Medical Association
Pet Partners (formerly the Delta Society)
Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling
by Cynthia Chandler
Paws for Purple Hearts
Lifeline Canine
Therapy Pets: http://www.therapypets.com/jackies-list/evaluators/north-carolina/
Photo Source: http://www.defense.gov/photoessays/photoessayss.aspx?id=2881
The Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACES)
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