History of Animal-Assisted Therapy
Animal-assisted therapy has been practiced in health care settings for many years. Coincidentally, one of the first documented uses of animal-assisted therapy in a mental health setting was in Washington, DC. In 1919, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC introduced the use of animals into their treatment of psychiatric patients. The later integration of animal-assisted therapy with clinical psychology is attributed to a child psychologist, Boris Levinson. In his paper, “The Dog as a Co-Therapist”, he described using dogs to aid in the treatment of disturbed, uncommunicative children.
Animal-Assisted Therapy Reading List
Download the PDF file.
Animal-Assisted Therapy Conferences
The following organizations offer conferences that may be of interest to those interested in animal assisted therapy:
Organizations Relevant to Animal-Assisted Therapy
Happy Paws DC: Dog boarding and day care where Murphy goes on his days off.
Greenbelt Dog Training: Trainer Allie Lee works with Children's National in certifying any dogs who do animal assisted therapy or animal assisted activities at the hospital. Murphy also takes agility courses at Greenbelt Dog School.
Mary Sullivan: Trainer Mary teaches Murphy on tricks and skills to help him engage patients.
Renfrew Center Foundation: The Renfrew Center offers an annual eating disorders conference in Philadelphia. Murphy accompanied Dr. Atkins to this conference in 2011 and 2012, and has raised the visibility of the use of AAT with eating disorder patients.