The HABRI Foundation is calling for research proposals to investigate the health outcomes of pet ownership and/or animal-assisted activity or therapy, both for the people and the animals involved. To learn more, visit close

You are here: Home / Theses / The influence of the presence of a dog or cat on perceptions of a psychotherapist / About

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

By Patricia Creary

View Link (HTM)

Licensed under

Category Theses

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.


Mason N McLary

HABRI Central

Date 2017
Pages 76
Publisher University of Toronto
Location of Publication Toronto, Ontario
Department Applied Psychology and Human Development
Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Human-animal interactions
  3. Psychotherapy
  4. therapy