The State of Animal Assisted Interventions: A New Paradigm Shift for the Future
Dr. Aubrey Fine
The field of human–animal interactions (HAI) and, more specifically, animal assisted interventions (AAI) has greatly evolved over the past half century. Our association with animal companions and health has a long history. Specifically, the field of AAI is becoming a more recognized form of complementary therapy. Both areas of investigation and practice have evolved from mainly misunderstood/sensationalized relationships between humans and animals and have emerged as more legitimate fields of study and service. What was once first thought of as somewhat novel and unusual is now generating more enthusiasm not only by the general public but also by the growing numbers of interdisciplinary scientists and practitioners interested in studying and applying the inherent value of human animal interactions.
The field of animal assisted interventions is quickly approaching a paradigm shift, adjusting its image to incorporate more evidence-based research and aligning its purpose for the new future. This presentation will address the contemporary critical issues that confront the field today. The presentation will include a brief overview of the major milestones that the field has undergone. Attention will be given to highlighting several critical issues including the state of research in the field, suggestions for fostering best clinical practices and explaining why and how they work as well as guidelines for animal welfare. The presentation will conclude with Dr. Fine’s perceptions for the field’s future trajectory, which will include the need for a shift in public policy and acceptance.
Integrating Theory to Practice in Canine Assisted Play Therapy
Dr. Jennifer Main
The use of dogs in the treatment of mental health disorders is rapidly growing in the field of counseling and play therapy. Canine Assisted Play Therapy (CAPT) is not a stand-alone form of treatment, but a supplement to the play therapy process. Because this is an innovative treatment approach, it is important for counselors to understand the theory and best practices of using a canine in the play therapy process. Thus, requiring counselors to conduct CAPT in an ethical and theoretically-grounded manner that supports the premise of play as well as protecting the welfare of all involved.
Mini Keynote: What’s Love Got to Do with It?
Rev. Elizabeth Teal
We love our companion animals and we believe, with lots of personal evidence, that they love us... but what if love is not all we need? How the words we use in Animal Assisted Interventions can help, harm or heal.
Addressing Grief and Pet Loss with Veterinary Social Work
Dr. Cristy Cummings
This presentation will introduce the audience to the emerging field of veterinary social work, including an overview of the research and practice of social workers in the four major areas of this field: compassion fatigue, the link between human and animal violence, animal-assisted interventions, and grief and loss. Drawing from practice experience and the existing body of literature, animal-related grief and bereavement will be discussed in further depth, with focus on the diversity of the human experience of this type of loss, practice implications, and veterinary social work approaches.
Human & Animal Welfare Considerations
Dr. Amber Barnes & Amy Johnson
This presentation will share, with case examples, the hidden implications of bringing dogs into hospitals, including the spread of zoonotic diseases and potential physical injury. Our best intentions of bringing in therapy animals to help patients heal can have dire consequences if the animals are carrying communicable illnesses and parasites. AAI competencies recommend having knowledge of your animal at a species, breed and individual level and that includes knowledge of behavior and zoonoses.