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Digital Recording

Animal-Assisted Therapy: Meeting Clients’ Therapeutic Goals One Paw at a Time!

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Tara Moser, LCSW, RPT-S, C-AAIS
Approx. 6 Hours
Sep 01, 2023
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Digital Recording
Never expires.


Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) is a unique and powerful therapeutic approach that harnesses the positive effects of human-animal interactions.

However, it is more than bringing your pet to work. It requires a complex set of skills, knowledge, and considerations to ensure the safe and effective integration of animals into therapy—ultimately to achieve successful client outcomes.

Watch Tara Moser, LCSW, and Certified Animal Assisted Intervention Specialist, as she teaches you how to confidently integrate AAT interventions that produce results even at the very first session! You’ll learn how to:

  • Build positive attachment and trust with clients
  • Reduce anxiety levels and induce a sense of relaxation
  • Support co-regulation between client and animal
  • Promote self-control and impulse management
  • Develop self-awareness, compassion, and empathy
  • Create strong social-emotional communication skills

But that’s not all, you’ll also learn to keep everyone safe, including how to:

  • Detect signs of stress in animal’s and client’s body language
  • Select animals that are well-suited for the client’s specific situation
  • Align your client’s therapy goals to appropriate AAT interventions
  • Integrate AAT with modalities you already use
  • Know when to and when not to include animals in therapy
  • Determine best practices for in-person vs telehealth
  • And so much more!

Through case studies, video demonstration and dynamic discussion you will leave this program with the skills and confidence to integrate dogs, cats and various other animals into your practice!


Planning Committee Disclosure - No relevant relationships

All members of the PESI, Inc. planning committee have provided disclosures of financial relationships with ineligible organizations and any relevant non-financial relationships prior to planning content for this activity. None of the committee members had relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies or other potentially biasing relationships to disclose to learners.  For speaker disclosures, please see the faculty biography.


This online program is worth 6.5 hours CPD.



Tara Moser, LCSW, RPT-S, C-AAIS's Profile

Tara Moser, LCSW, RPT-S, C-AAIS Related seminars and products

Tara Moser, LCSW, RPT-S, C-AAIS, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Florida and Registered Play Therapist Supervisor. She owns a private practice that specializes in play therapy. Tara is the founder of Pawsitive Kids Camp, a non-profit that integrates play therapy and Animal Assisted Play Therapy® with rescue dogs and children. She has served in a variety of therapeutic capacities, including non-profit individual and family counseling, foster care, elementary school-based counseling programs, behavioral therapy for autism, drug intervention and prevention, supervised visitation, and domestic violence counseling.

Tara has created play therapy courses for local universities and taught as an adjunct professor. She travels the country training on play therapy and Animal Assisted Play Therapy® to mental health, rehab and medical professionals, educators and parents. Tara is a graduate and past chair of APT’s Leadership Academy and has served on numerous APT committees, including ethics and practice, nominations board, conference program, leadership program, and key awards. She is the president for the Florida Association for Play Therapy. She has served locally and most recently as vice president for NASW Florida, in which retaining members was a goal. Tara’s professional excellence has been recognized by the SW Florida Unit of NASW as 2009 Social Worker of the Year and 2017 Field Educator of the Year. She was also awarded the 2009 Viola Brody Award by FAPT. Tara and her team of therapists are often called for debriefing on Animal Assisted Play Therapy® across the state. She is the co-author of an award-winning children’s book, Bode the Beach Dog: Life is RUFF!, a book to help children overcome fear.


Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Tara Moser maintains a private practice and has employment relationships with Husson University and Saint Francis University. She receives royalties as a published author. Tara Moser receives a speaking honorarium and recording royalties from PESI, Inc. She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Tara Moser is a member of the National Association of Social Work, the Animal Assisted Intervention International, the International Institute for Animal Assisted Play Therapy, Association for Play Therapy, and the Association for Professional Dog Trainers. She is the task force president for the Association for Play Therapy and the president for the Florida Association for Play Therapy.

Additional Info

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  1. Appraise the difference between different types of AAT and the animal’s role related to each.
  2. Determine 3 competencies including the impact of the human-animal bond in preparing to work with animals in AAT sessions.
  3. Conclude 3 ways to meet client’s therapeutic goals by including animals in therapy.
  4. Analyze directive and non-directive approaches between client and animal.
  5. Align client’s therapeutic goals to appropriate AAT interventions, with or without an animal present during therapy sessions.
  6. Integrate animals in therapy sessions to enhance both verbal and non-verbal communication in client processing.
  7. Create an integrative plan of risks and safety needs including reading animal and client body language for signs of distress during therapy sessions.


Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT): A Relationship-Based Approach

  • Latest research: Hormone release, sensory response
  • Types of animal-assisted therapies
  • Importance of speaking the language of the animal
  • Client-animal-therapeutic relationship
  • Lessons learned from animals

Integrating AAT to Treatment Goals/Plans for Clients Struggling with:

  • Trauma and attachment
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Anger and aggression
  • Trust and building rapport
  • Social-emotional regulation
  • Impulsivity and self-control
  • Social-communication skills
  • Setting boundaries and building rapport
  • Empathy and patience
  • Stress and fear

Align Client’s Therapeutic Goals to Appropriate AAT Intervention

  • Varied animal roles and why it’s important to know the difference
  • Directive vs. non-directive interactions
  • Align the animal’s personality and interests with client’s needs
  • What sessions look like with an animal present: Video case examples
  • When to/when not to include animals

Apply AAT to Clinical Work - From Start to Finish

  • Integrate AAT with modalities you already use
  • Meet therapeutic goals and treatment plans with an animal present
  • Follow the lead of the animal to process the clients’ needs
  • Theories that back your animal-involved interactions
  • Best practices for in-person vs telehealth

Preparing Animal for Therapy Work

  • Tips to socialize your animal
  • “Must have” AAT education for clinicians
  • Selecting an animal species and breed
  • Clicker work, lure/reward, shaping, and modelling

Give Your Animal a Voice in Therapy

  • Signs of stress and resignation and what do to next
  • Strategies to help your animal relax and destress
  • Decrease burnout of your animal
  • Alternatives to when animals not present

Other Clinical Considerations

  • Client rights and when not to involve an animal
  • Informed consent
  • Documentation
  • Liability insurance and waivers
  • Research, risks and limitations

Target Audience

  • Social Workers
  • Counsellors
  • Psychologists
  • Addiction Professionals
  • Art Therapists
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Case Managers
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Speech-Language Pathologists
  • School Administrators
  • Educators
  • Nurses
  • Nursing Home Administrators

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