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School of Nursing

Human Health Building, Room 3027
433 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309-4452
(location map)
(248) 370-4253
nrsinfo@oakland.edu
M-F 8 a.m.-5 p.m. closed daily 12 p.m.-1 p.m.

School of Nursing

Human Health Building, Room 3027
433 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309-4452
(location map)
(248) 370-4253
nrsinfo@oakland.edu
M-F 8 a.m.-5 p.m. closed daily 12 p.m.-1 p.m.

woman petting a horse's head

Animal Assisted Therapy

Register now for the AAI Workshop in April! 
(Click on the Conferences and Workshops tab for more information!) 

The Center for Human Animal Interventions (CHAI) is located in the School of Nursing and runs in conjunction with Professional and Continuing Education (PACE). Keeping with the main objectives of the Center, the center will become the primary resource for all things related to the Human Animal Bond and Animal Assisted Interventions and will contribute to research and literature within the area of study. A key component to this program is the implementation and advancement of ethical standards and competencies to be used as an industry standard by both professionals and volunteers in the field of HAB and AAI.

BECOME A BETTER PRACTITIONER 

Competencies related to Animal Assisted Interventions (AAIs) were published and endorsed by the American Counseling Association in 2016, which were the first set of professional competencies in AAI in the country.  They have since been adapted and endorsed by Pet Partners, Animal Assisted Interventions International and are currently being prepared for the American Psychological Association's Human Animal Interactions Division 17. Oakland's program supports the efforts to ensure that graduates of this program have the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to practice AAIs in the safest and most efficacious manner.These competencies were founded on a Grounded Theory study designed to promote the three domains of competencies (knowledge, skills, and attitudes) and identified 9 competency areas (Stewart, L.A., Chang, C. Y., Parker, L. K., & Grubbs, N., 2016). 

These areas include: 

1. Formal AAT Training 
2. In-depth animal knowledge 
3. Knowledge of existing ethical requirements 
4. Mastery of professional skills (without an animal first)
5. Intentionality 
6. Specialized skill set
7. Animal advocacy
8. Professional development 
9. Professional values 

While no one program or course can offer everything, this workshop seeks to satisfy the need for education in this area that aligns with the competencies. Check out our CE Workshops and Courses tabs for educational activities that might interest you.  

Mission Statement: "To promote the thoughtful and ethical practice of animal assisted interventions by focusing on practitioner competency, quality client care and optimal animal welfare."

Our advisory committee is comprised of content experts and will help make this mission a reality.
To register your dog as a therapy dog, visit Therapy Dogs International or Pet Partners.


BLOGS AND RESOURCES

Rise Van Fleet 

Animal Assisted Interventions
 What are AAIs?
 Animal assisted interventions offers a positive behavioral 
 support intervention  or young people with severe emotional 
 or behavioral problems as well as provides emotional,
 psychological and physiological support for the critically ill,
 elderly, physically impaired and more. The difference you will
 make in the lives of others will be extremely rewarding.
 Animal assisted therapy has also been effective in nursing
 homes, counseling centers and hospitals. A diverse range of 
 people can apply animal assisted therapy to their
 professional careers, including: nurses, teachers,
 counselors,  physical therapists and sociologists. 

 Those interested in enrolling should complete an admission 
 application
. Please note, registration for the 2020-2021
 academic year is open until September 8, 2020 (first day of
 class). No refunds after the second day of class. For 
 questions contact Amy Johnson at johnson2@oakland.edu.

Overview of Oakland's Program
Oakland University’s Animal Assisted Therapy Certificate program addresses several health and social issues, including an increased need for alternative, innovative and holistic practices.

Taught by multidisciplinary professionals, Oakland’s animal assisted therapy program helps fulfill the need for alternative, innovative and holistic health care practices. In addition, animal assisted therapy addresses several social issues, such as:
  • providing educational, therapeutic and health benefits for at-risk children and adolescents, the elderly and other special-needs populations
  • helping patients in nursing homes, counseling centers and hospitals
Theories behind AAT:
There are a variety of theories that can be used.

What is the difference between Animal Assisted Therapy and Animal Assisted Activities?
Watch this 5 minute presentation to find out

What is a certificate in AAI?
This Certificate Program focuses on the differences between Animal Assisted Activities and Animal Assisted Therapy and how to setup a program to achieve the outcomes you'd like to see within the population with which you are working. This program is ideal for people in service professions (teachers, nurses, therapists,occupational therapists, etc.) who want to add AAT to their skill set and introduce either their own animals or other animals or people who want to conduct AAT, start a non profit or become a more credible volunteer. This program focuses on the human side of AAIs. No one program can meet all the needs of a competent provider. Hands-on components and specific animal behavior workshops and courses should be attended. This program does include a hands-on component to help tie in all elements and is working on a mentorship program. 

What types of animals can be integrated into AAIs? 
Cats, dogs, horses, rabbits, hamsters,etc. This program will help you identify what animals/pets would make safe, reliable therapy animals.

100% online:
The program is offered completely online. It runs in a consecutive format. There are deadlines and weekly due dates for assignments, but you can do them and post at your discretion. Most students say that the work is not overwhelming and many work full time jobs or take full time classes along with this program. We offer a capstone project which includes the writing of a full proposal/business-type plan rather than an internship. At the end, you will receive a professional development certificate from Oakland University.

Is the program accredited?
There is no national accrediting body for AAT, but having a certificate will make you more credible. We want to demonstrate how to incorporate AAT into any service field or type of service organization and you will have the chance to create by the end of the courses a plan specific to your needs that can be presented to a supervisor or potential facility for approval to add AAT to the location of your choice. This program will help establish standards and competencies for your work. There are competencies, ethics and best practice guidelines available including Pet Partners, Animal Assisted Interventions International, American Counseling Association and soon, the American Psychological Association. 

Examples of Goals for AAT:
The goal we want to achieve with each person that enters our program is to help them reach their own goals for their AAT programs.

AAT can assist with these goals and changes:
  • Physical Changes ( disabilities, body posture, etc.)
  • Cognitive Changes (Learning, etc.)
  • Emotional Changes (Feeling, Recognizing, etc.)
  • Physiological changes (Heart rate, etc.)
  • Behavioral Changes (Altering behaviors)
Applying for this program at Oakland University will benefit you by reaching for your goals and creating new opportunities. 

What to expect when being taught in this program:
  • Empathy
  • Perspective taking
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-efficacy 
  • Attachment
  • Sense of purpose
  • Patience
  • And many other ways.
Understanding the nature and power of the bond allows us to harness it in powerful ways.

What you'll learn: 
Oakland University’s academic approach to animal therapy will help you develop an overall understanding of the human animal bond and healing implications with vulnerable populations. You’ll learn:
  • How to incorporate animal assisted therapy in current practices. 
  • How animal assisted research applies to real-life applications
  • What the difference is between animal assisted therapy and pet therapy.
  • How to gain a theoretical framework for animal assisted therapy interventions how to start your own non-profit organization
  • Where to volunteer.
Assumptions:
  • We are using this in those simplest of terms- a relationship that provides a sense of safety and reduces anxiety or stress
  • None of these are uniquely human (insel, 1997)- Social dynamics between people and pets have qualities similar to that of human social relationships. 
*AAT was created in 2007 for the demand people had for the program. A grant from the president’s office allowed the program to accept students from all over the world. This program is great for anyone who wants to accept AAT into their work with starting non-profit groups or become a better volunteer for some of these groups. This is an easy program completely online based with 5 Modules throughout a one year span. This online course will give you well-rounded training for your future involvement with AAT. The best part is that the workload is manageable and will teach you great skills involving Animal Assisted Therapy. The workload is at your own pace to work with your schedule of time.
Modules

The program includes five consecutive 5-week modules in the following areas:

Module 1- Intro to AAT 
Includes readings on the literature and the learning on what it takes to get started with AAT.

Module 2-  Administration Policies in AAT
Includes learning about appropriate liability coverage, zoonoses prevention and applicable billing in AAIs. 

Module 3- Special Populations 
Includes a closer look at vulnerable populations and how AAT will fit in with the populations. 

Module 4- Animal Welfare in AAT 
Includes learning if the animal can work for AAT, how to certify your pet, what a temperament assessment is and the provisions needed for using animals. 

Module 5- Capstone 
Includes writing a final paper on introduction, needs assessment, methodology, Budget/resources, similar programs, and outcomes.

Module 6 - (optional) Hands On Practicum 

CHAIS Credentials
Upon satisfactory completion of Oakland University's Animal Assisted Therapy Certificate Program, students may use the credentials C-HAIS (Certificate as a Human Animal Intervention Specialist) to demonstrate that they have received education specific to AAIs. This program includes five 5-week modules and includes a review of theories, lit review, session planning, policies and legal issues, special populations, therapy animal welfare and a final capstone. Each cohort begins in September.
How to Register/Cost
Complete the online  Admission Application

Once you hear back from the committee, you can register at www.oakland.edu/pace

Courses are $499 per course (both in/out of state; in/out of country) x 5 courses plus the costs of books (available on Amazon). Payment of $499 is due prior to the start of each course. Full price for the program is $2,495. Payment plans are available. A discount is available for those who enroll for all modules and participate in the payment plan option. Complete this form and return to Jennifer Cepnick at jecepni2@oakland.edu

_________________________________________________________________
For Pet Partners, go to  calendar of events.  To sign up for a spot you need to start the registration process by creating a log in to the  Volunteer Center .

This program will help establish standards and competencies for your work. There are competencies, ethics and best practice guidelines available including    Pet Partners     Animal Assisted Interventions International     American Counseling Association    and soon, the American Psychological Association. 

Goals for the Center include:
  • Providing a thorough understanding of the theories and intentionality used in the practice of AAI
  • Providing a thorough understanding of the various populations that benefit from AAI and the types of animals that make the best fit
  • Determine what animals make the best therapy animals and how to certify one’s animal
  • Add to the base of literature in order to advance the field
  • Expand and deepen learning and related academic initiatives and scholarship at OU
  • Disseminate ethical standards and benchmarks in the industry as determined in collaboration with other experts in the field
  • To have courses taught by experienced faculty in a variety of disciplines
  • Have the ability to offer CEUs in a variety of disciplines
  • Encourage inter-professional collaborations on campus, in the community, around the country and around the world


CE Courses

Staying current on trends, techniques and research is critical in ensuring optimal welfare of the practitioner, animal and client. These short, online courses will provide the necessary information to practitioners or those considering entering the field of Animal Assisted Interventions.

CEOD 20200 HAI OF A DIFFERENT KIND 

This educational activity will explore a Human- Animal Intervention as a case study that has been an effective adjunctive intervention to youth already receiving therapeutic services within the Juvenile Detention system. In this course, the instructor will share experiences and best practices with adjudicated youth and  exotic (non-domestic) animals from the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden for the benefit of both. 

Register now
(search for CEOD 20200) 

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CEOD 20300 ZOONOTIC CONSIDERATIONS IN AAIs 

Animal Assisted Therapy is a health intervention that incorporates animals as the focus of treatment. The overall goal is to improve the well-being of the population of interest, it is critical that we examine not only the health benefits of this contact but its potential risks to both human and animal. This one hour module will review potential zoonotic risks for handlers, patients and therapy animals. 

1 CE (nursing) 

Register now

 

Conferences And Workshops

Register now

Animal Assisted Interventions Hands-On Workshop
April 2-4, 2020
Human Health Building
Oakland University Campus
CEs available
Seating is limited - REGISTER TODAY!

**Change in program. Cynthia Chandler is now unable to participate, but we still have a fantastic workshop planned for you!**

Animal Assisted Interventions Workshop with special guests, Melissa Winkle and Ann Howie

Oakland University’s Center for Human Animal Interventions and Animal Assisted Therapy Certificate Program presents this hands-on 2 ½ day workshop for the beginner to intermediate AAI  professional. Sessions will include topics such as dog behavior, animal welfare, session planning and more will be explored. The workshop will focus on occupational health and mental health sessions, but can be applied to other disciplines. 

Cost
$289
$249 (early bird, through March 10) 

Upon completion of this workshop, you will: 
1. Be able to identify significant human-animal relational moments within an AAI
2. Be able to explain when you would and wouldn't address the human-animal relational moment in session
3. Be able to list 6 stressors for dogs working in AAIs according to the current AAI/HAI literature
4. Be able to describe 5 red flags for clients who may not be appropriate for AAI 
5. Be able to write an effective informed consent and AAI-specific documentation / progress notes
6. Be able to role play a case scenario that includes the monitoring of the client/animal/environment while working towards outcome achievement and evaluation
7. Be able to apply professional theoretical framework to AAI session plan in order to meet client outcome

BECOME A BETTER PRACTITIONER 
Competencies related to AAIs were published and endorsed by the American Counseling Association in 2016. They have been adapted and endorsed by Pet Partners, Animal Assisted Interventions International and are currently being prepared for the American Psychological Association's Human Animal Interactions Division 17. These competencies were founded on a Grounded Theory study designed to promote the three domains of competencies (knowledge, skills, and attitudes) and identified 9 competency areas (Stewart, L.A., Chang, C. Y., Parker, L. K., & Grubbs, N., 2016). These areas include 

1. Formal AAT Training 
2. In-depth animal knowledge 
3. Knowledge of existing ethical requirements 
4. Mastery of professional skills (without an animal first)
5. Intentionality 
6. Specialized skill set
7. Animal advocacy
8. Professional development 
9. Professional values 

While no one program or course can offer everything, this workshop seeks to satisfy the need for education in this area that aligns with the competencies. 

Media and Publications
American Psychological Association Monitor (May 2017)
"Allies, Sidekicks and Pals" 
Oakland's AAT-C Program and Teacher's Pet 

Chai Blog
Read the latest blog from the Center for Human Animal Interventions

TV Interview
Amy Johnson interview on Bloomfield Cable

UPCEA Award
Adelle F. Robertson Continuing Professional Educator Award (2016)
Contact Information

Amy Johnson, MAT, MA, LPC, TLS, CPDT-KA
Director
(248) 364-8704
Johnson2@oakland.edu

Jennifer Cepnick, MPA
Program Coordinator
(248) 370-3177
jecepni2@oakland.edu