One of the unique programs at GSSW that really sets the school apart from other schools of social work is the energy and enthusiasm around the human-animal interaction. Not only does GSSW offer a certificate in animal assisted social work practice for MSW students and a post-MSW training program, but we are lucky to have on faculty scholars and practitioners who have extensive experience in the area of animal assisted interventions. Recently, faculty member Philip Tedeschi co-authored two chapters that offer an excellent foundational understanding of animal assisted interventions as well as the ethics around incorporating animals into practice.
The first, co-authored with GSSW Research Faculty member Kate Trujillo and GSSW Dean James Herbert Williams appears in a new book, The role of pets in children’s lives: Human-animal interaction in child development, health, and therapeutic intervention.1 The chapter not only lays out the ethical considerations organizations and practitioners need to take into account when considering incorporating animals into their work, but also lays out the case for the need for evidence-based practice research in this area.
The second chapter is co-authored by Jennifer Boggs and GSSW Faculty Member Frank Ascione and appears in the book Innovative interventions in child and adolescent mental health.2 In this chapter, different models for animal assisted interventions are laid out, along with different components in the animal assisted intervention. The chapter provides a comprehensive look at the different types of programs that exist, how animal assisted interventions are integrated into different theoretical models, and outlines the evidence of the benefits of animals in the lives of humans.
Together these two pieces provide an excellent foundation for newcomers to animal assisted interventions, and give the experienced social worker who has integrated animals into their practice an overview of the evidence for the efficacy of this work.
1Trujillo, K., Tedeschi, P., & Williams, J.H. (2010). Research meets practice: Issues for evidence-based training in HAI. In McCardle, P., McCune, S., Griffin, J. A., & Maholmes, V. (Eds.), The role of pets in children’s lives: Human-animal interaction in child development, health, and therapeutic intervention, (pp. 199-216). Baltimore, MD: Brooks Publishing.
2Boggs, J., Tedeschi, P., & Ascione, F.R. (2010). Animal assisted approaches to child and adolescent mental health. In Norton, C. L. (Ed.), Innovative interventions in child and adolescent mental health, (pp. 96-124). New York, NY: Routledge.