Location: Indiana, United States

I became a Professor Emeritus after serving 29 years as a recreational therapy faculty member at Indiana University. I'm a long-time Hoosier, having grown up in Hanover, Indiana. My RT practitioner work was in psych/mental health. After completing my Ph.D. at the University of Illinois, my first faculty position was at the University of North Texas. RT has been a wonderful profession for me as I have had the opportunity to serve as an author and national leader.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

AAT or AAA, Not "Pet Therapy"

In yesterday's post on the Furry Finals Fix program by IU students, I used the term "pet therapy" (Notice it was always in quotes.). I received a reminder from a friend that "pet therapy" is not the proper term to employ -- and if RT students organize such programs they should use the expression Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT).

In my teaching, I have employed the term Animal-Assisted Therapy. I had only used "pet therapy" (in quotes) in my post because that was the expression was used in the article that I cited and the term is the one with which most people are familar.

According to the Delta Society, perhaps the best term for a Furry Finals Fix program might be Animal-Assisted Activities (AAA) -- because the program was technically not therapy. Go to the Delta Society website for further details.

For those with interest in learning more about Animal-Assisted Therapy, one source is Therapeutic Recreation Processes and Techniques (5th edition) by David R. Austin. See pages 122 - 125 in the section titled Animal-Assisted Therapy.


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