Walking the Dog When Talking is Too Much: Mental Health Workers' Implementation of Animal Assisted Interventions with Adult Survivors of Potentially Traumatic Events

Sandra Kay Scott, Fordham University

Abstract

During the past decade there has been a dramatic increase in the use of canine-assisted interventions with adults experiencing potentially traumatic events. This qualitative study used grounded theory methods to investigate the clinical intentions (goals) and practice models used by mental health professionals who integrate canines into their work with survivors. In-depth interviews were conducted during 2014 and 2015 with 12 mental health professionals who use animal assisted interventions in their clinical practice. Participants report viewing these trained canines as "co-therapists" and incorporate them within a variety of theoretical frameworks. Seven distinct intentions were identified along a continuum of models. This is the first research to identify specific goals of mental health workers incorporating canines into work with this population. One additional finding was identification of the ethical concerns about potential “dual relationships” when incorporating a canine identified as a family member of the therapist.^

Subject Area

Mental health|Social work

Recommended Citation

Scott, Sandra Kay, "Walking the Dog When Talking is Too Much: Mental Health Workers' Implementation of Animal Assisted Interventions with Adult Survivors of Potentially Traumatic Events" (2016). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI10153581.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI10153581

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