VISTAS Animal Assisted Therapy

VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.

Animal-Assisted Therapy: Best Practices for College Counseling

Julia F. Kronholz, Vanessa F. Freeman, and Randi C. Mackintosh


The growing prevalence of mental health concerns among college students, combined with a reduction in college counseling center resources, has generated a need for innovative service delivery approaches to assist students. One such approach is the inclusion of animal-assisted therapy in counseling services and campus outreach programming. This manuscript first offers an overview of the history of animal-assisted therapy and provides a review of empirical studies supporting the use of animals in counseling services. Following, the efforts of one university counseling center to integrate animals into the service-delivery model are described. This paper concludes with resources for more information regarding animal-assisted therapy and considerations for college counseling center staff.

Keywords: animal-assisted therapy, college counseling, campus outreach, outreach programming

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