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Animal assisted interventions are therapeutic processes that intentionally include or involve animals as part of the process.[1] Animal-assisted therapy, animal assisted activities, and service animals are some examples of animal assisted interventions.

Animal-Assisted Interventions include Animal-Assisted Therapy and Animal-Assisted Activity.

Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT): AAT is a goal-directed intervention in which an animal that meets specific criteria is an integral part of the treatment process. AAT is directed and/or delivered by a health/human service professional with specialized expertise, and within the scope of practice of his/her profession. Key features include: specified goals and objectives for each individual; and measured progress (Kruger et al, 2004).

Animal-Assisted Activity (AAA): AAA provides opportunities for motivational, educational, recreational, and/or therapeutic benefits to enhance quality of life. AAAs are delivered in a variety of environments by specially trained professionals, paraprofessionals, and/or volunteers, in association with animals that meet specific criteria. Key features include: absence of specific treatment goals; volunteers and treatment providers are not required to take detailed notes; visit content is spontaneous. [2]

Interventions involving the use of horses typically fall under the jurisdiction of a separate group of agencies; particularly the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA), and the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA). NARHA oversees therapeutic riding, which is classified as animal assisted activities using horses. AHA oversees hippotherapy, or animal assisted therapy using horses. Hippotherapy must be conducted by a licensed occupational, physical, or speech therapist, and typical therapeutic short and long term goals are identified for each client.

NARHA's sub-section, the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association (EFMHA), provides a separate definition for the term “equine facilitated psychotherapy” (EFP): EFP is an experiential psychotherapy that includes equine(s). It may include, but is not limited to, a number of mutually respectful equine activities such as handling, grooming, longeing (or lunging), riding, driving, and vaulting. EFP is facilitated by a licensed, credentialed mental health professional working with an appropriately credentialed equine professional. EFP may be facilitated by a mental health professional that is dually credentialed as an equine professional. [2]

See also[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Fine, Aubrey H. (2006). Handbook on animal-assisted therapy: theoretical foundations and guidelines for practice, p264, Amsterdam: Elsevier/Academic Press.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Kruger, 2004

Further reading[edit | edit source]

  • Kruger, Katheine A., Trachtenberg, Symme W., & Serpell, James A. (2004). Can animals help humans heal? Animal-assisted interventions in adolescent metal health. 1-37.

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