Professional Decision Making in Animal Assisted Play Therapy™: How the Goodness-of-Fit Model Impacts Practice
Decision-making in Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ and Animal Assisted Therapy practice is a complex process. Not only must practitioners know how to intervene to meet client goals, they must consider and advocate for the needs of the animals. Other factors play a role in determining what an actual intervention, lesson, or session might look like, also. This blogpost considers four aspects that are forefront in the minds of professionals using AAPT in their work.
When dogs are adopted from a shelter, rescue, or other caretaking situation, they have an enormous amount to learn as they adapt to their new environment. We sometimes take that for granted and develop unrealistic expectations of them as a result. As we give them space and time to adjust, we can observe the situation from their viewpoint and alter our own expectations and actions to better help them feel comfortable in their new homes.
Quite often when people hear "play therapy" they think of children. Play therapy uses the therapeutic powers of play (based on the seminal work of Dr. Charles Schaefer) and the natural features of childhood to provide a developmentally-attuned set of interventions and...
Adding a new dog to the family requires considerable thought and planning. It’s a big decision requiring a lifelong commitment. When the dog arrives, the first steps including helping the new family member feel comfortable in the environment, assisting other animals in the family to adjust, and getting to know the new dog as well as possible. This process must precede decisions about any work in which the dog might become involved. This brief article highlights the early process to navigate the early days and weeks.
As Animal Assisted Interventions become more prevalent among professionals, the topic of competencies gains importance. Competences should be viewed as a roadmap to developing the skills, knowledge, and attitudes needed to involve animals effectively and ethically in mental health, allied health, and educational work.
Animals need more space than we sometimes realize. They sometimes might wish to leave sessions, too. Providing an “exit route” at all times can allow for animal choices, greater safety, and demonstrate respect for the animals’ needs. This can be helpful to animals as well as clients.
This article explores the unique features that comprise Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ as it was created and developed by Dr. Risë VanFleet (USA) and Tracie Faa-Thompson (UK). There are distinct differences with many other forms of Animal Assisted Intervention, and some of these distinctions are described here.
Another frequently asked question about Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ pertains to finding the right canine partner and preparing the dog for the work. Most common are questions about which breeds make the best therapy dogs. These are actually more complex questions than many people realize. This blogpost is designed to point readers toward some helpful resources that we have developed.
Read this to explore the field of Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ and learn how to get into this exciting field!
The credentials linked to Animal-Assisted Interventions are numerous and confusing. This blog discusses the differences between certificate programs and certification programs. The AAPT Certification Program is briefly described, and the development of the AAPT International Certification Board is highlighted.
In Issue 14 of Animals Speak! Murrie talks about annoyances that come from living with brothers and sisters. These can be heightened during the pandemic when family members don’t have as much time away from each other as they might want. Murrie discusses his own occasional frustrations with two of his sisters and then offers a few things to do about those situations.
Sometimes, in our eagerness to provide a happy life for our animals, we step in too quickly to help them with certain challenges. There are times when we sell them short, perhaps not realizing or forgetting that they have their own unique capabilities and skills. This blog post explores the concept of agency for animals, factors to consider when working with animals, and how we can do more to allow, promote, and support their agency and control in their own lives. The post includes a contribution by Pat Tagg of the UK that involves her unique observations of the development of confidence in a blind lamb with help from other sheep and the flock.