Animal Assisted Psychotherapy (AAP) is a relationship-based practice to enhance traditional psychotherapy through the human-animal bond.
In AAP we are intentional about incorporating an animal into sessions. We remain mindful of how an animal's presence contributes to the overall therapeutic process and treatment plan goals.
With a growing interest in AAP, the American Counseling Association (ACA) has developed Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling Competencies. This holds providers to a set of standards and practices to ensure appropriate knowledge, skills, and attitudes for the inclusion of an animal in therapeutic sessions.
Qualities of a therapy animal include trainability, reliability, and predictability. Although we strive for these qualities, we must value imperfections (just like in ourselves!) The imperfections are what separates a co-therapist animal from a Service Animal who must be 'bomb proof' when working.
To meet and exceed the ACA Animal Assisted Therapy in Counseling Competencies, Dr. Amelia Trujillo, Mila's Handler, is in the process of completing a Certificate of Education in Animal Assisted Psychotherapy (CAAP) with a three-day experiential intensive through the Animal Assisted Therapy Programs of Colorado.
Mila is working towards the American Kennel Club Canine Good Citizen Certification, using only positive reinforcement training methods. We've started with the basics and will happily announce when she is ready to join sessions!
Adult One Training Graduation
Adult Two Training Graduation
Follow her journey!