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 as a Complementary Intervention for Mindfulness - Based Therapies
William Leigh Atherton, Edward T. Dunbar Jr., and Sarah E. Baker
Moderate to severe anxiety disorders affect approximately 29% of Americans.
Mindfulness training has demonstrated moderate efficacy for treating anxiety disorders. However, counselors often report that clients have difficulty with acceptance as well as treatment engagement and completion. The addition of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) as a complementary intervention may mitigate these barriers, thus enhancing the overall impact of mindfulness training. The purpose of this article is to explain how integrating AAT as a complementary intervention within mindfulness-based training can improve treatment acceptability, retention, and effectiveness. A review of mindfulness training and
animal-assisted therapy as treatments for anxiety disorders is provided, followed
by implications for counseling professionals.
Keywords: animal-assisted therapy, mindfulness training, complementary intervention