Date of Paper

5-2013

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Sarah M. Ferguson

Abstract

What do therapists believe is the uniqueness of animal assisted therapy that engages children? This is the main question this research aims to answer. The purpose of this study was to get the opinions of therapists on how animal assisted therapies benefit children. In this qualitative study, the researcher interviewed six therapists who actively practice Animal Assisted Therapies with clients. These therapists were able to identify the benefits that children encounter when participating in animal assisted therapies. The therapists have been educated and certified to practice AAT using the EAGALA model. The findings of this research produced five main themes: the use of animals, therapist’s description of AAT, diagnosis, unique benefits with children, and AAT with attachment disorders. According to the results of this research, therapists believe that the use of AAT has been found to be beneficial when working with children with attachment disorders. These findings indicate that the bond between the client, therapist, and animal is one that creates a safe space for the child to participate.

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