This workshop will start with an orientation webinar on Friday, September 11 from 2-5pm. The remainder of the course, which is primarily experiential, will meet at the instructor's farm in Dexter, Michigan on Saturday, September 12.
This course provides an experiential opportunity for participants to explore animal-assisted therapeutic activities specifically designed to further a wide range of therapeutic goals with children, adolescents, families and adult clients. Like play therapy and art therapy, animal-assisted interventions, when integrated with evidence-based methods including (but not limited to) CBT and mindfulness, trauma recovery, family systems, cultural-relational and psychodynamic approaches, offer opportunities for people to work through a variety of issues and insecurities related to attachment, trauma, self-esteem and identity concerns, dysregulation, behavioral difficulties, mental illness, developmental disabilities, and family and relational problems. With selected animals as therapy partners, the therapeutic team helps people of all ages and positions foster new alliances, understand more fully existing problems and build practical life-skills to enhance confidence, effectiveness and joy. Presently, animal-assisted therapy is gaining acclaim in the field of mental health intervention and there is a growing body of evidence supporting its efficacy and standards in the field to be explored. This course introduces the theoretical foundations, standards, ethics, evidence, certifications, integration of methods, case examples, evaluation and practical skills involved in partnering with a variety of animals, in particular dogs, cats, goats, pigs, horses and chickens (yes, chickens!)- to provide engaging and effective interventions.
- Identify key concepts in animal-assisted therapy.
- Define terms associated with animal-assisted interventions.
- Identify issues pertaining to experiential animal-assisted interventions in the therapeutic farm setting.
- Identify key ethical and safety considerations associated with animal-assisted interventions through experiential exercises and discussion.
- Describe considerations for entering into ethical relationships with animals that distinguish between animals as therapeutic partners vs. used as tools.
- Apply personal skills such as self-awareness in animal activities that focus on engagement.
- Apply clinical observational and assessment skills through small group and animal interactions.
- Describe key roles and responsibilities in animal-assisted therapy.
- Integrate evidence-based and best practice methods with animal-assisted interventions.
- Apply animal-assisted challenge experiences in a group experiential exercise.