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Animal-Assisted Therapy and Clinical Engagement

The aim is to measure the impacts of including animals in therapy on client engagement in clinical environments.

A variety of animals are included in an expanding number of clinical environments. My research group is interested in measuring the impacts of these animals on client engagement and, thereby, clinical outcomes for existing evidence-based interventions. Our randomized-controlled clinical trial of certified therapy dogs as an adjunct to in-home family preservation services found statistically significant improvements in four areas of family functioning tested. Moreover, the improvements in two of these family functioning skills were sustained until discharge from the treatment program. We are now exploring expanding studies into other clinical environments and additional species.