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Animal-Assisted Social Work


Learn the best practices for integrating animals into the therapeutic process.

As the incorporation of the human-animal bond in human wellness is becoming more recognized by healthcare/human services providers and the general public, enthusiasm and curiosity about Animal Assisted Interventions (AAIs) is growing at an exponential rate. Although evidence exists that animals have been assisting human healers for centuries, the formal professionalization of the approach is relatively new. As such, much confusion and misunderstanding occurs about AAIs. This topic will help clarify the plethora of terminology and taxonomies relevant to AAIs while simultaneously helping practitioners learn how to increase professional competency relevant to AAIs so they may one day provide safe, ethical and effective AAIs in their professional work. This material is a crucial first step towards accurately understanding the clinical application of the human-animal bond in human wellness, and will prepare you to address many common pitfalls and misconceptions about the intervention.



Leslie A. Stewart, Ph.D., LPC

Leslie A. Stewart, Ph.D., LPC

School of Health Professionals

  • Assistant Professor of Counseling at Idaho State University and Professional Consultant in Animal Assisted Interventions
  • Primary author of the American Counseling Association’s Competencies for Providers of Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling & Pet Partners Tiered Model of Therapy Animal Handler Competencies
  • Author of 11 peer-reviewed scholarly articles and presenter of more than 30 professional presentations/workshops relevant to AAIs
  • Developer and instructor of Idaho State University’s Certificate Program in Animal Assisted Interventions
  • More than 10 years of experience facilitating therapeutic human-animal interactions with a variety of animal species
  • Can be contacted at [email protected]

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