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An Occupational Therapist's Manual for Animal Assisted Therapy with Emotionally Disturbed Adolescents

By Ann Marie Bilek, Hannah Osborne

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Category Theses

According to the comprehensive literature review, animals are currently being used as an effective tool during therapy and have been reported to promote improvement with communication, behaviors, quality of life, and self esteem of different treatment populations. Since emotionally disturbed adolescents often lack appropriate skills in the areas of communication, social interactions, self-esteem, independence, and boundaries, it can be challenging for occupational therapists to provide opportunities for development of these skills. Animal assisted therapy may be a tool that can assist in bridging the gap between the adult therapist and emotionally disturbed adolescents and provide a medium to promote skill development. This scholarly project addresses current evidence in the literature supporting the use of animal assisted therapy, as well as discussing limitations, and provides guidance for occupational therapists considering the use of animal assisted therapy in practice with adolescent populations. The Model of Human Occupation was used to provide recommended assessment tools, as well as to develop treatment activities and resources.


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Pages 109
Department Occupational Therapy
Degree Master's of Occupational Therapy
University University of North Dakota
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Adolescents
  2. Animal-assisted therapies
  3. Animal roles
  4. Human-animal bond
  5. open access
  6. Pets and companion animals
  7. Psychiatry and psychology
  1. open access