Animal Assisted Play Therapy

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Rise VanFleet and Tracie Faa-Thompson
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Professional Resource Press

This book is the culmination of the authors combined 75 years of experience working with animals as a part of their therapeutic practice. Professional practitioners, as well as the paraprofessionals who work in tandem with them, will find this book of enormous value. While the focus is on mental health professionals, the approach and methods covered can easily be adapted for use by allied health professionals, such as physical, occupational, speech, and recreational therapists as well as those in the educational field such as teachers and school counselors. Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ (AAPT) adds the elements of playfulness, humor, and lightness to the therapeutic process, and can be helpful for clients of all ages. It focuses heavily on relationships: how the relationship between therapist and animal must be developed in positive, mutually respectful ways in which the animals have a voice and choice whenever possible. This in turn provides a model for clients to help them strengthen their own relationships, not only with therapy animals and their own companion animals, but within the human relationships in their families and communities. The authors demonstrate how the techniques can be readily applied for dogs, horses, cats, and other animals. Many illustrative case examples are included.

What experts are saying about Animal Assisted Play Therapy:
Animal Assisted Play Therapy presents a comprehensive approach to the inclusion of animals in psychotherapy in general, and play therapy in particular. The book goes beyond describing the inclusion of animals in sessions to describe the nature of the relationship between the animal, the therapist and the client. Extensive attention is paid to the competencies the therapist must have in order to engage in AAPT as well as guidance in selecting and training animals. One of the most unique aspects of the book is the degree to which it focuses on the welfare of the animal as essential to both ethical practice and to the success of any AAPT intervention. The book is engaging and the writers style is very reader-friendly, making the concepts accessible to those new to the field as well as seasoned practitioners. There are many anecdotes and clinical examples which are both illustrative and clinically useful. The research on the involvement of animals in therapy is well represented and all of the material well referenced. Overall, the book is an excellent resource and a wonderful addition to the literature on a rapidly growing intervention. --Kevin O Connor, PhD, ABPP, RPT-S, Cofounder/Director Emeritus, Association for Play Therapy Distinguished Professor, CA School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University

It is difficult to capture in a few words, just how good this book is. This text is a truly extraordinary and compelling synthesis of theory, practice and fundamental principles, written in an easy to understand style, by two authors who clearly have a love for what they do and who want to promote scientific and compassionate practice with animal assisted interventions. The book is essential reading not just for those with an interest in the professional practice of Animal Assisted Play Therapy, but also for anyone more broadly interested in how animals can enrich our lives and wider society. This book will clearly be a classic in its field. --Prof Daniel S. Mills BVSc PhD CBiol FRSB FHEA CCAB Dip ECAWBM(BM) FRCVS European & RCVS Recognised Specialist in Veterinary Behavioural Medicine School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, UK

Animal Assisted Play Therapy by Risë VanFleet and Tracie Faa-Thompson is an excellent resource for beginning and advanced practitioners of this approach. It provides the reader with practical knowledge on how to implement therapeutic strategies that consider the welfare of both human and animal participants. The authors great breadth of experience and expertise is evident in this comprehensive presentation. Their book is a highly valuable contribution to the field of animal-assisted counseling and psychotherapy. --Cynthia K. Chandler, EdD, LPC-S, LMFT-S, Professor of Counseling, University of North Texas; Author of Animal-Assisted Therapy in Counseling

Risë VanFleet, PhD, RPT-S, CDBC, is a licensed psychologist, registered play therapist-supervisor, and certified dog behavior consultant with 45 years of experience in the mental health, organizational development, and animal behavior fields. She is the president of the Family Enhancement & Play Therapy Center and its Playful Pooch Program in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania USA, and a cofounder of the International Institute for Animal Assisted Play Therapy™. She provides professional training in mental health throughout the world as well as direct services to families. She is the author of dozens of articles, chapters, and books (e.g., Child-Centered Play Therapy; Filial Therapy: Strengthening Parent-Child Relationships Through Play; Play Therapy with Kids & Canines; The Human Half of Dog Training, and more), as well as DVDs and online courses. She has received numerous state, national, and international awards for her writing and training, including the Distinguished Contributions to the Science and Profession of Psychology Award (Pennsylvania Psychological Association), and several Maxwell Awards and Special Awards (Dog Writers Association of America). She currently lives with four dogs, three cats, and one husband.

Tracie Faa-Thompson, MA (Soc/Crim), AASW, PGdipNDPT, is a specialist social worker in the adoption field and a British Association of Play Therapists registered nondirective play therapist with many years of experience. She also teaches social work students and conducts workshops in attachment theory, life story work, and Filial Therapy. Her AAPT program, Turn About Pegasus, serves at-risk youth and families and operates year-round in rural north Northumberland in the UK. The program has been featured by the BBC. She is a cofounder of the International Institute for Animal Assisted Play Therapy™. She was the founder, and for over 20 years the Chair, of her local Riding for the Disabled Centre. She has authored numerous articles and chapters on AAPT and Filial Therapy, and is a recipient of the Outstanding Contributions to the Practice and Training of Filial Therapy Award (Family Enhancement & Play Therapy Center). She currently lives with five horses, four dogs, and one husband.