Animal Assisted Therapy – A Brief History

By Lois Jean Brady, MA, CCC-SLP, CAS

Animal Assisted Therapy - A Brief HistoryA small pet animal is often an excellent companion for the sick…” – Florence Nightingale (1859)

Although the term Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) is relatively new, the use of animals to help people overcome illness and/or mental disorders is not a new idea. The earliest use of pet animals for therapeutic use was in Belgium in the middle ages, where pets and people were rehabilitated together, with pets providing a part of the natural therapy for the humans. Following this practice, The York Retreat in Germany and Bethel for the mentally ill and the homeless included animals, as a part of the therapeutic milieu reaping the benefits. Later, the Human Animal Bond was conceptualized by a Psychologist, Boris Levinson and Konrad Lorenz, an Austrian Nobel laureate in Physiology. This bond is explained as an intrinsic need in humans to bond with nature, especially in the background of their chaotic lives. The modern movement of using companion animals as a means of therapy had a multidisciplinary origin, involving the fields of veterinary medicine, psychology, sociology, psychiatry funded by pet food industry (Chandramouleeswaran & Russell, 2014).

There are references to the fact that the early Greeks used horses to lift severely ill people’s spirits. In the 17th century, physicians reportedly began using horses as treatments to improve both physical and mental health issues in their patients. In the 1940s, the American Red Cross and the Army Air Corps established a farm where recuperating veterans could interact with and take care of animals while they were healing from war injuries and illness. Working with the animals was thought to comfort the recovering veterans, help them forget about the war, and focus on recovery (Fine, 2000).

An unlikely champion of AAT was Dr. Sigmund Freud, who used Jo-Fi, his dog, in his clinical practice. Freud believed that Jo-Fi could judge a person’s character accurately. Freud also believed that having Jo-Fi present during his therapy sessions had a calming influence on his patients, particularly children (Coren and Walker, 1997).

However, the first formal therapeutic work and research was done by Dr. Boris Levinson. In 1961, while working with a withdrawn and mentally impaired young boy, Dr. Levinson made an “accidental discovery” involving his dog, Jingles. Levinson briefly left Jingles alone with the boy and, when he returned, found the young boy interacting with the dog. This inspired Levinson to do further research with Jingles and his young patients. He found that the presence of a dog during therapy sessions had a positive effect on impaired young patients. Levinson later used the expression “pet therapy” in reference to Jingles’ beneficial effects on mentally impaired children in a therapeutic setting (Levinson, 1964). In 1969 (p3), Dr. Levinson wrote:

“It has by no means been the intention of this writer to indicate that pets are a panacea for all the ills of society or for the pain involved in growing up and growing old. However, pets are both an aid to and a sign of the rehumanization of society. They are an aid in that they help to fill needs which are not being met in other, perhaps better ways, because society makes inadequate provision for meeting them. In the meantime, animals can provide some relief, give much pleasure and remind us of our origins.”

The term pet therapy marked the beginning of researchers’ and practitioners’ interest in the psychological effects of human and animal interaction and highlighted the critical shift, which regards animals as partners in therapy rather than tools to be exploited (Zamir, 2006)

Online Continuing Education Courses on Animal Assisted Therapy

 

Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) is a 2-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that provides the information and techniques needed to begin using the human-animal bond successfully to meet individual therapeutic goals.

In Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) the human-animal bond is utilized to help meet therapeutic goals and reach individuals who are otherwise difficult to engage in verbal therapies. AAT is considered an emerging therapy at this time, and more research is needed to determine the effects and confirm the benefits. Nevertheless, there is a growing body of research and case studies that illustrate the considerable therapeutic potential of using animals in therapy. AAT has been associated with improving outcomes in four areas: autism-spectrum symptoms, medical difficulties, behavioral challenges, and emotional well-being. This course is designed to provide therapists, educators, and caregivers with the information and techniques needed to begin using the human-animal bond successfully to meet individual therapeutic goals. This presentation will focus exclusively on Animal Assisted Therapy and will not include information on other similar or related therapy.

 

“Animal-Assisted Therapy and the Healing Power of Pets provides an essential foundation to anyone interested in animal assisted intervention work, whether as a healthcare professional or as a volunteer therapy animal team with their dog or cat. Dr. Rand uses a narrative writing style, supplemented with photographs, to give the reader a deeper, more experiential understanding of the material and makes for a good read. The course includes numerous clinical examples, evoking an awareness of the unique bond between people and their companion animals.”- Endorsement by Aubrey H. Fine, EdD, author of Our Faithful Companions: Exploring the Essence of our Kinship with Animals.

 

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Professional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. Our purpose is to provide high quality online continuing education (CE) courses on topics relevant to members of the healthcare professions we serve. We strive to keep our carbon footprint small by being completely paperless, allowing telecommuting, recycling, using energy-efficient lights and powering off electronics when not in use. We provide online CE courses to allow our colleagues to earn credits from the comfort of their own home or office so we can all be as green as possible (no paper, no shipping or handling, no travel expenses, etc.). Sustainability isn’t part of our work – it’s a guiding influence for all of our work.

Approved CE Provider

We are approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within one week of completion).

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5 Facts About Anxiety Disorder Drugs

From Open Forest

5 Facts About Anxiety Disorder DrugsAround 18% of American adults are affected by anxiety disorders each year. That translates into about 40 million people.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. You might feel anxious when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision. But anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The feelings can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships.” There are several different types of anxiety disorders: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder.

The two most common treatments for anxiety disorders are medication and therapy (or a combination of the two). The symptoms of anxiety can be quite overwhelming, particularly at the onset and medications may be prescribed in order to combat these symptoms. While drugs may offer temporary relief, they are only a short-term solution. Unless you solve the underlying issues, the problem will reappear when you cease to take the medication. While medication can certainly be beneficial and is sometimes necessary to treat anxiety, there are some things that many people don’t know about anxiety drugs.

Here are 5 Facts About Anxiety Disorder Drugs:

  1. Some anti-anxiety drugs can be habit-forming
  2. Withdrawal can occur even without addiction
  3. Anxiety drugs can have serious side effects
  4. It often takes more than one kind of medication
  5. Anxiety medications treat the symptoms, not the underlying cause


Learn more @ https://openforest.net/5-facts-anxiety-disorder-drugs/

Related Online Continuing Education (CE) Courses:

Anxiety: Practical Management Techniques is a 4-hour online continuing education (CE) course that offers a collection of ready-to-use anxiety management tools. Nearly every client who walks through a health professional’s door is experiencing some form of anxiety. Even if they are not seeking treatment for a specific anxiety disorder, they are likely experiencing anxiety as a side effect of other clinical issues. For this reason, a solid knowledge of anxiety management skills should be a basic component of every therapist’s repertoire. Clinicians who can teach practical anxiety management techniques have tools that can be used in nearly all clinical settings and client diagnoses. Anxiety management benefits the clinician as well, helping to maintain energy, focus, and inner peace both during and between sessions. Course #40-12 | 2007 | 41 pages | 30 posttest questions

Mindfulness: The Healing Power of Compassionate Presence is a 6-hour online continuing education (CE) course that will give you the mindfulness skills necessary to work directly, effectively and courageously, with your own and your client’s life struggles. Compassion towards others starts with compassion towards self. Practicing mindfulness cultivates our ability to pay intentional attention to our experience from moment to moment. Mindfulness teaches us to become patiently and spaciously aware of what is going on in our mind and body without judgment, reaction, and distraction, thus inviting into the clinical process, the inner strengths and resources that help achieve healing results not otherwise possible. Bringing the power of mindful presence to your clinical practice produces considerable clinical impact in the treatment of anxiety, depression, PTSD, chronic pain, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, colitis/IBS, and migraines/tension headaches. The emphasis of this course is largely experiential and will offer you the benefit of having a direct experience of the mindfulness experience in a safe and supportive fashion. You will utilize the power of “taking the client there” as an effective technique of introducing the mindful experience in your practice setting. As you will learn, the mindfulness practice has to be experienced rather than talked about. This course will provide you with an excellent understanding of exactly what mindfulness is, why it works, and how to use it. You will also develop the tools that help you introduce mindful experiences in your practice, and how to deal with possible client resistance. Course #60-75 | 2008 | 73 pages | 27 posttest questions

Medical Marijuana is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE) course that presents a summary of the current literature on the various medical, legal, educational, occupational, and ethical aspects of marijuana. In spite of the fact that nearly half of the states in this country have enacted legislation legalizing marijuana in some fashion, the reality is that neither the intended “medical” benefits of marijuana nor its known (and as yet unknown) adverse effects have been adequately examined using controlled studies. Conclusive literature remains sparse, and opinion remains divided and contentious. This course will address the major questions about marijuana that are as yet unanswered by scientific evidence. What are the known medical uses for marijuana? What is the legal status of marijuana in state and federal legislation? What are the interactions with mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and suicidal behavior? Is marijuana addictive? Is marijuana a gateway drug? What are the adverse consequences of marijuana use? Do state medical marijuana laws increase the use of marijuana and other drugs? The course will conclude with a list of implications for healthcare and mental health practitioners. Course #30-86 | 2016 | 55 pages | 24 posttest questions

Professional Development ResourcesProfessional Development Resources is a nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) organized in 1992. Our purpose is to provide high quality online continuing education (CE) courses on topics relevant to members of the healthcare professions we serve. We strive to keep our carbon footprint small by being completely paperless, allowing telecommuting, recycling, using energy-efficient lights and powering off electronics when not in use. We provide online CE courses to allow our colleagues to earn credits from the comfort of their own home or office so we can all be as green as possible (no paper, no shipping or handling, no travel expenses, etc.). Sustainability isn’t part of our work – it’s a guiding influence for all of our work.

We are approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners; and are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within one week of completion).

Earn CE Wherever YOU Love to Be.

Toddlers Medicated for ADHD Against Guidelines

By Alan Schwarz

Toddlers Medicated for ADHDMore than 10,000 American toddlers 2 or 3 years old are being medicated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) outside established pediatric guidelines, according to data presented on Friday by an official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report, which found that toddlers covered by Medicaid are particularly prone to be put on medication such as Ritalin and Adderall, is among the first efforts to gauge the diagnosis of ADHD in children below age 4. Doctors at the Georgia Mental Health Forum at the Carter Center in Atlanta, where the data was presented, as well as several outside experts strongly criticized the use of medication in so many children that young.

The American Academy of Pediatrics standard practice guidelines for ADHD do not even address the diagnosis in children 3 and younger — let alone the use of such stimulant medications, because their safety and effectiveness have barely been explored in that age group. “It’s absolutely shocking, and it shouldn’t be happening,” said Anita Zervigon-Hakes, a children’s mental health consultant to the Carter Center. “People are just feeling around in the dark. We obviously don’t have our act together for little children.”

Dr. Lawrence H. Diller, a behavioral pediatrician in Walnut Creek, CA, said in a telephone interview: “People prescribing to 2-year-olds are just winging it. It is outside the standard of care, and they should be subject to malpractice if something goes wrong with a kid.”

Friday’s report was the latest to raise concerns about ADHD diagnoses and medications for American children beyond what many experts consider medically justified. Last year, a nationwide CDC survey found that 11 percent of children ages 4 to 17 have received a diagnosis of the disorder, and that about one in five boys will get one during childhood.

A vast majority are put on medications such as methylphenidate (commonly known as Ritalin) or amphetamines like Adderall, which often calm a child’s hyperactivity and impulsivity but also carry risks for growth suppression, insomnia and hallucinations.

Read more: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/05/17/us/among-experts-scrutiny-of-attention-disorder-diagnoses-in-2-and-3-year-olds.html?referrer=&_r=2

Related Online Continuing Education Courses:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that gives a brief update on the various facets of ADHD.

Mental Health Medications is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that describes the types of medications used to treat mental disorders, side effects of medications, directions for taking medications, potential interactions with other drugs, and warnings about medications from the FDA.

The Impact of a Life of ADHD: Understanding for Clinicians and Clients is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that discusses the many ways a lifetime of ADHD can affect a person’s life.

Diagnosing ADHD in Adults is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that describes the unique ways symptoms of ADHD manifest in adults, including the distinction between attention deficit and attention regulation.

Professional Development Resources is approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA); the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.

Volunteers Needed for Alzheimer’s Clinical Trials

From the National Institute on Aging

More than 150 Alzheimer’s and related clinical trials in the United States are looking for volunteers. At least 70,000 people with Alzheimer’s, healthy volunteers, and caregivers are urgently needed.

Alzheimer's Research Needs You

For more information on volunteering: http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/volunteer

Related Online Continuing Education Courses:

Alzheimer’s Caregiver Guide and Tips on Acute Hospitalization is a 1-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that offers strategies for managing the everyday challenges of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease and includes tips on acute hospitalization.

Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report: Intensifying the Research Effort is a 3-hour online continuing education (CE/CEU) course that reviews basic mechanisms and risk factors of AD and details recent research findings.

Alzheimer’s Disease – Overview is a 1-hour online CEU course that provides an overview of the prevalence, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and progression of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as information about caregiving and caregiver support.

Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease is a 3-hour online CEU course that discusses practical issues concerning caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease who has mild-to-moderate impairment, including a description of common challenges and coping strategies.

Alzheimer’s: Unraveling the Mystery is a 3-hour online CEU course that describes the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease, effective steps for prevention, strategies for diagnosing and treating Alzheimer’s disease, and the search for new treatments.

Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Professional Development Resources maintains responsibility for all programs and content. Professional Development Resources is also approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the California Board of Behavioral Sciences; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by theTexas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners.

 

Missouri OTs – License Renewal & CE Info

From the Missouri Board of Occupational Therapy

Online CEUs for Missouri OTsMissouri-licensed Occupational Therapists (OTs) and Occupational Therapy Assistants (OTAs) have an upcoming license renewal deadline of June 30, 2015.

All OT/OTA licensees are required to complete 24 hours of continuing education in order to renew. The hours must be obtained between 7/1/2013 – 6/30/2015 and may all be taken online. At least fifty percent (50%) of the twenty-four (24) continuing competency credits must be directly related to the delivery of occupational therapy services, and the remaining CCCs must be related to one’s practice area or setting. The continuing education is only to be submitted to the board office upon request. Please visit Continuing Competency Requirements for more information.

Professional Development Resources is approved by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA #3159) to provide online continuing education courses to occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants. Missouri-licensed OTs and OTAs can earn all 24 hours for renewal through online courses available @ https://www.pdresources.org/profession/index/5.