This study examined the question: What is the adult client’s experience of individual psychotherapy with the assistance of a dog? The narrative model of qualitative research was used to co-create meaning from the stories of the participants’ lived experience. The narrative accounts of seven participants consisting of five females and two males ranging in age between 25 and 67 years old were obtained through in-depth interviews. Participant’s reasons for seeking therapy varied (i.e., Major Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Interpersonal Conflicts etc.,); as did their time spent in therapy with the therapist dog team, ranging from12-15 sessions to 6 years. Eight themes were identified through a detailed data analysis, which included feedback from the participants. The first three themes were general and found among the majority of the participants: 1) Participants were comforted by the dog; 2) There was a perception of the dog as being accepting and non-judgmental; 3) Participants developed a special relationship to the dog. The next three themes were typical and found in over half of the participants: 4) The dog provided a connection to the therapist, 5) Participants perceived the dog as…, 6) Participants described the dogs role in therapy as…. Finally there were two variant themes found in just less than half of the participants with three noting that 7) The distractions caused by the dog were found to be needed breaks, and three of the participants stating that they 8) Trusted the dogs more than humans.
Keywords: animal assisted therapy/psychotherapy, pet facilitated therapy/psychotherapy, dogs, client’s experience, and narrative research.
|ISBN/ISSN||9781321164206 (ProQuest) 1321164203 (ProQuest)|
|Publisher||Michigan School of Professional Psychology|
|Location of Publication||Farmington Hills , Mi|
|Department||Humanistic and Clinical Psychology|
|Author Address||6499 Alward Dr. Hudsonville Mi 49426|