Today we have Dr. Katherine Compitus here to discuss two important topics; Animal Assisted Therapy and Coping with Pet Grief. Due to the importance of both subjects, we have decided to break this into two parts, with this first episode exploring Animal Assisted Therapy and the next episode focusing on coping with losing a pet (which will be released next week).
Animal Assisted Therapy as a concept has become popular in recent years, but what actually is it? And what is the difference between Animal Assisted Therapy, Animal Assisted Activities, and Animal Assisted Education? And in terms of animal-assisted therapy, if you are a current licensed professional or somebody who uses a licensed professional for psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Speech Therapy, or even Physiotherapy (to name a few), how do you responsibly integrate a dog (or other animals) into these sessions so it’s beneficial for the humans and also fair for the animal? That’s what Dr. Katherine Compitus is here to help us with.
Dr. Katherine Compitus, D.S.W., is a licensed clinical social worker in New York. Her research focuses primarily on clinical social work, the social determinants of health, and the human-animal bond. She is also the founder and chairman of Surrey Hills Sanctuary, a nonprofit organization providing veterinary social work services, including trauma-informed animal-assisted therapy for abuse survivors. Katherine has a Master’s degree in social work from NYU and also a Master’s in Education and a Master's in Animal Behavior and Conservation from Hunter College. She received her doctorate in Social Welfare (Clinical Social Work) from New York University.
Katherine is especially interested in crisis intervention as it relates to the human-animal bond; Recently she has published articles on the clinician’s experience of conducting animal-assisted therapy and the welfare of therapy animals. She is the author of the Zooeyia (zoo-AY-uh) blog at Psychology Today, discussing the myriad of benefits that we get from interacting with animals. She designed and currently teaches the human-animal bond course at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work. Katherine was a teacher prior to becoming a social worker and has almost 20 years of experience working with children and families. Katherine is currently an adjunct lecturer at New York University, Fordham University, and Columbia University and owns Wiggly Pups in New York City, providing training, daycare, and boarding services.
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