Introduction to Animal-Assisted Therapeutic Interventions: More Than Just Bringing A Pet To Work

The majority of households in the United States have at least one companion animal.  Worldwide, the human-animal bond is accepted as an important and powerful relationship for both humans and animals.  Understanding the human-animal bond is a critical component to incorporating animals in therapeutic activities/therapy.  Research in Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAI) is expansive and rapidly growing; affirming a host of physical and psychological benefits when AAI is integrated into the counseling process.  Animal-Assisted Activities/Animal-Assisted Therapies (AAA/AAT) are increasingly being employed with various client populations.  AAI is the umbrella term for treatment modalities such as Animal-Assisted Therapy an Animal-Assisted Activities.  AAI is multidisciplinary, including disciplines as social work, education, veterinary medicine, occupational therapy, physical therapy, human development and family studies, psychology and counseling.  AAI is goal directed, designed to improve client functioning and delivered by a practitioner with specialized expertise and training.  AAI can bring a refreshing perspective to the therapeutic environment, facilitate client therapeutic progress and enhance job satisfaction for practitioners.

This introductory training will assist participants in developing knowledge and understanding of major concepts and guidelines related to AAI.  Topics will include: the social, physical and emotional/psychological impacts of AAI across the human lifespan; therapeutic roles of animals; trends in AAI services; ethical, risk management, legal and animal welfare considerations; training important to the animals involved in various components of therapy work, in addition to the training therapists must obtain to incorporate animals as a partner in therapy and therapeutic activities; and professional competencies and expectations.

Educational Objectives

After completing this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the benefits and risks of Animal-Assisted Interventions in various settings with various populations.
  • Determine key components of training needed for animals and humans to ensure that the human AAI team member meets professional competencies and expectations.
  • Recognize important ethical, risk management, legal and animal welfare issues in AAI work.

Available Continuing Education:

CHES-Certified Health Education Specialist

CPH-Certified Public Health

DMH-Addiction Therapist

DMH-Community Support Specialist

DMH-Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Therapist

DMH-Mental Health Therapist

DMH-Licensed Administrator

MAAP-Mississippi Association of Addiction Professionals

NBCC/LPC-National Board Certified Counselors

SW-Social Work

Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) and Psychologist CE’s applied for


Cynthia Johnson, Ph.D.




Sep. 11, 2020


9:00 am - 12:30 pm


Cynthia Johnson, Ph.D.