Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Poster Session

Department

Social Work

Advisor

Rachel Casey PhD, MSW

Keywords

animal assisted therapy, social work, therapy dogs, social work practice

Abstract

Animal assisted therapy, which incorporates animals into structured therapeutic interventions, and its use within social work has been shown to increase social interactions, communication, and the overall health and safety of clients (Nimer & Lundahl, 2007). However, there is a gap in the literature regarding the professional and personal experiences of individual social workers with incorporating certified therapy dogs into their practice. This study examined the approval process, perceived effects on practice, perceived effects outside of practice, and future implications of using therapy dogs in social work through the analysis of qualitative data from seven in-depth interviews with licensed social workers currently utilizing therapy dogs in their daily practice. Findings from this study may be used to educate other social workers about incorporating therapy dogs into their practice.

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