By Eric Franchy, Strategic Programs Marketing Assistant
you love animals? Are you interested in a program that can benefit both
you and your community? If so, then Oakland University’s Animal
Assisted Therapy Certificate Program is perfect for you. The Animal
Assisted Therapy (AAT) program is designed to help students develop an
overall understanding of the human-animal bond and AAT.
will explore and discover the healing implications AAT has on a wide
spectrum of populations. Animal assisted therapy provides educational,
therapeutic and health benefits for at-risk children and adolescents,
the elderly and other special-needs populations. The practice can
additionally be used to address several other social issues such as
aiding patients in nursing homes, counseling centers and hospitals.
Through the program, students will learn how to incorporate animal
assisted therapy in current practices, how to start their own non-profit
organization, where to volunteer and much more!
of the program, Amy Johnson, was able to start the certificate program
through a grant from OU’s Resource Development Fund in 2007. She
realized the need for a ‘train the trainer’ program through a
combination of her research and experience in the field, and an influx
of non-profit requests for AAT training.
this unique certificate program is offered through the School of
Nursing, it is completely online and available to anyone interested,
regardless of their area of study/practice. Past students have taken the
program from all over the nation and more than four different
countries! OU’s interdisciplinary academic approach to animal assisted
therapy can benefit and be applied to a diverse range of professions,
including, but not limited to: nurses, teachers, counselors, physical
therapists, and sociologists.
has been proven effective in many different applications. It offers a
positive behavioral support intervention for young people with severe
emotional or behavioral problems. The use of animals in therapy can
teach trust, patience, empathy and many other emotional characteristics,
Treadwell, Coordinator for the Teacher’s Pet program (which is run by
Amy Johnson) at the Macomb County Juvenile Justice Center commented,
“One of my favorite things about the program is the almost instant
connections our residents make with their animals. It does not seem to
matter what the history of the resident or their behavioral issues,
every youth that has gone through the program has been better for it.
The increases in empathy and self esteem are at times remarkable. Amy
Johnson seems to have struck the perfect balance of training and therapy
that produces significant positive changes in the youth who participate
in the program. I have no doubt that her research and design are the
primary reasons for the ongoing success of the Teacher's Pet program as
evidenced by the gains seen in multiple locations (Macomb, Oakland,
Crossroads etc..). Everything that’s done in the program is backed up
addition this alternative and innovative health care approach can
improve mobility, social communication skills, and so much more for the
critically ill, elderly, and physically impaired among others. The power
of animal assisted therapy has recently been found to assist Veterans
with emotional and physical support.
Animal Assisted Therapy Certificate program is beneficial to both those
receiving the therapy and those learning how to implement it. Others
who can benefit from the program include: Volunteers, entrepreneurs,
non-profits and clinicians.
continuous success stories from students who’ve completed the
certificate program are quite remarkable. From fundraisers to student
recognition by the American Counseling Association, students from the
AAT Certificate Program are doing truly great things.
would like Oakland University to become the premier institute for AAT
training and research expertise. She plans to move for the program to
become offered as a degree in addition to the certificate, and envisions
reaching out to more students from all around the world and applying
the study to more practices. Through this she sees the opportunity for
more research and publication.
and affiliates of the program are leaving a positive paw print all over
the globe. Sign up for the AAT Certificate Program and join them in a
rewarding opportunity where you can make a difference in the lives of
others. Registration for the program is now open, and classes start in
September. For more information on the program contact:
Amy Johnson, Administrative Project Coordinator
Phone: (248) 370-4065
You may also view the AAT Certificate page at: http://www.oakland.edu/pace/SON