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.
Cultural Diversity Considerations in Animal Assisted Counseling
Hallie E. Sheade and Cynthia K. Chandler
Animal assisted counseling (AAC) has become a more common practice and yet little attention has been paid to cultural diversity considerations with this modality. The purpose of this article is to increase clinicians’ awareness of the cultural differences related to animals within different cultural groups in order to promote culturally sensitive practice of AAC. To increase awareness of cultural diversity issues, the literature describing human-animal interactions within the context of majority and minority cultures, such as racial and ethnic groups, religion, socioeconomic class, and gender, is reviewed. The role of the human animal relationship and the nature of the counseling process for each of the cultural groups is discussed. Specific implications for counseling with diverse clients based on each group’s unique needs are highlighted. These implications include programmatic considerations, cultural sensitivity, and counselor self awareness. By being culturally aware, practitioners can more effectively and ethically utilize AAC with a variety of clients.
Keywords: multiculturalism, diversity, animal assisted counseling