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Best Practices in Animal-Assisted Therapy


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

Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) has become a popular approach for assisting persons with emotional and mental health issues. It is vital that practitioners of AAT have sufficient understanding of ethical and efficacious practices of this modality. In this topic, a leading expert in the field of AAT defines constructs, discusses an effective model for practice, describes techniques and intentions for intervention, and delineates facilitator codes of ethics. Efficacy of AAT is explained within a scientific framework of known neuro-biological effects of human-animal interaction. This topic will provide mental health professionals with an understanding of how to effectively utilize many AAT interventions. Specific AAT techniques will be described and matched with intentional client treatment gains. Human-animal interaction dynamics will be presented within the context of real case scenarios.



Cynthia K. Chandler, Ed.D, LPC-S, MFT-S

Cynthia K. Chandler, Ed.D, LPC-S, MFT-S

University of North Texas

  • Professor, Counseling Program
  • Department of Counseling & Higher Education at the University of North Texas, Denton, Texas
  • Credentials: licensed professional counselor and supervisor and a licensed marriage and family therapist and supervisor in Texas
  • Taught various graduate courses in counseling since 1989
  • Been involved with animal-assisted therapy practice, instruction, supervision, and research since 2000
  • Considered a leading expert in the application of animal-assisted therapy for emotional and mental health; is the author of the classic book, Animal-Assisted Therapy in Counseling – the 3rd edition, which was published in 2017; is founder of the landmark practice model, human-animal relational theory; has received the American Counseling Association’s Professional Development Award (2016), the Association for Creativity in Counseling’s Thelma Duffey Award for Vision and Innovation (2009), and Texas Counseling Association’s Writer of the Year Award (2006)
  • Can be contacted at [email protected]

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