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The influence of the presence of a dog or cat on perceptions of a psychotherapist

By Patricia Creary

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Abstract

This experimental study examined the effects of companion animal presence on perceptions of an observed psychotherapist. One hundred thirty-three adults (72.2% female; Mage = 38.05 years) participated in an online study which used randomly assigned visual vignettes to elicit responses to a psychotherapist. The vignettes are described as the following: psychotherapist with a dog; with a cat; client touching dog; touching cat, and; no animal present. Respondents evaluated the therapist on various characteristics, and indicated willingness to self-disclose. Overall, participants rated the therapist as more friendly and likable when shown with an animal than without, but self-disclosure was not influenced by animal presence. There was no differential impact of animal type on the outcome measures. Implications for psychotherapy and methodological challenges of the study are discussed.

Submitter

Mason N McLary

HABRI Central

Date 2017
Pages 76
Publisher University of Toronto
Location of Publication Toronto, Ontario
Department Applied Psychology and Human Development
URL http://hdl.handle.net/1807/77778
Language English
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Tags
  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Human-animal interactions
  3. Psychotherapy
  4. therapy