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Animal Assisted Therapy

Lois Jean Brady, MA, CCC-SLP, CAS

CE Credit: 2 Hours

Target Audience: Psychology CE | Counseling CE | Speech-Language Pathology CEUs | Social Work CE | Occupational Therapy CEUs | Marriage & Family Therapy CE | School Psychology CE | Teaching CE

Learning Level: Introductory

Course Type: Online

Course Abstract

Animal Assisted Therapy is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE) course that provides information and techniques for working with animals to help clients meet their therapeutic goals.

In Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) the human-animal bond is utilized to reach individuals who are otherwise difficult to engage in therapy. AAT has been associated with improving outcomes in four areas: autism-spectrum symptoms, medical difficulties, behavioral challenges, and emotional well-being. At a fundamental level, pets can provide companionship, stress relief, emotional comfort, and a substitute for human company across age groups. Research shows that the beneficial effects of the human-pet interaction may include lower levels of depression, anxiety, and pain, as well as improved self-image, self-efficacy, mental function, and quality of life. By maintaining interest and attention, AAT works to support language and motor activities, encourages social interaction, provides sensory integration, and motivates students to do their best.

This course shares information on how to train and register in AAT with Pet Partners (an organization that helps people through positive interaction with animals) and is designed to provide therapists, educators, and caregivers the information and techniques needed to begin using the human-animal bond successfully to meet clients’ individual therapeutic goals.

Course # 21-53 | 2021 | 44 pages | 15 posttest questions


Learning Objectives

1. Explain the four key features of animal assisted therapy
2. Describe six special considerations for working with individuals with autism spectrum disorders
3. Differentiate uses for AAT in speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, and mental health practice
4. List five best practices relevant to AAT
5. Identify five situations in which AAT may not be appropriate
6. Specify eight ways to minimize risk in the practice of AAT

Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for this program and its content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC ACEP #5590); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB #1046, ACE Program); the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling, and Marriage and Family Therapy (#BAP346), Psychology & School Psychology (#50-1635); the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists (#PSY-0145), the New York State Education Department's State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors (#MHC-0135), licensed marriage and family therapists (#MFT-0100 - Note: New York MFTs will receive 2 continuing education credit(s) for completing this self-study course), and licensed social workers (#SW-0664); the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage & Family Therapist Board (#RCST100501 - Note: Ohio MFTs completing this course will receive 2 clinical continuing education credit(s)); the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs (#193); the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists (#114) and State Board of Social Worker Examiners (#5678); and is CE Broker compliant (#50-1635 - all courses are reported within two business days of completion).


This online course provides instant access to the course materials (PDF download) and CE test. The course is text-based (reading) and the CE test is open-book (you can print the test to mark your answers on it while reading the course document).

Successful completion of this course involves passing an online test (80% required, 3 chances to take) and we ask that you also complete a brief course evaluation. Click here to learn more.

Have a question? Contact us. We’re here to help!

About the Author(s)

Lois Jean Brady, MA, CCC-SLP, CAS, is passionate about working with the special needs community. She found her calling while in high school, when she spent her summer breaks volunteering in camp programs for children with special needs. Lois has over two decades of experience working as a Speech-Language Pathologist specializing in autism spectrum disorder and is a Certified Autism Specialist. Educational accomplishments include a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology, Certificate in Assistive Technology, Certificate in Computer Based Intervention and completion of an Animal Assisted Therapy Program.


: No relevant financial relationship exists.
: No relevant nonfinancial relationship exists. 

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