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Play Therapy Information for Therapists & Parents!
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In-Person Workshops, Books, and Online Courses

Welcome to risevanfleet.com, home to the Family Enhancement & Play Therapy Center, Inc., Dr. Risë VanFleet, founder and president. Here you will find information about Play Therapy, Filial Therapy, Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ tailored for both parents and professionals, along with play therapy products, online courses, and workshops. 

Play therapy products

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In-Person Trainings

Training programs for play therapy professionials.

In-Person Trainings

Earn Continuing Education credits and take steps to become a certified professional therapist.

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Online Courses

Complete coursework from the comfort of your own home!

Online Courses

Topics on child-centered play therapy, filial therapy, Animal Assisted Play Therapy™.

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Books and Manuals

Books and manuals designed for child and family mental health professionals, for play therapists and filial therapists, and for the parents and families.

Books and Manuals

Don't miss the award-winning book, Animal Assisted Play Therapy™!

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Conferences

Just released! Proceedings from the 2023 AAPT Virtual Conference!

Conferences

Virtual conferences and proceedings from past conferences.

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Meet

Risë VanFleet

Dr. Risë VanFleet, PhD, RPT-S, CDBC, CAEBI, is the President of the Family Enhancement & Play Therapy Center, Inc., in Boiling Springs, Pennsylvania, an organization specializing in the training and supervision of child, family, and play therapy professionals. She is the founder and president of the International Institute for Animal Assisted Play Therapy®. Dr. VanFleet is a Licensed Psychologist (PA), Registered Play Therapist-Supervisor, Certified Dog Behavior Consultant, and Certified Animal Ethology and Behavior Instructor with 48 years of clinical, supervisory, administrative, and teaching experience. Her specialties include Animal Assisted Play Therapy™, Filial Therapy, play therapy, chronic medical illness in families, disaster mental health, complex trauma and attachment issues, as well as animal welfare and behavior. She has trained and supervised thousands of clinicians internationally. She also provides behavior consultation with family dogs, and specializes in highly fearful, traumatized, unsocialized dogs.

Risë is the author of a number of ground-breaking and award-winning books, and she has authored dozens of articles, chapters, and manuals. Books include (but not limited to) Animal Assisted Play TherapyFilial Therapy: Strengthening Parent-Child Relationships Through PlayChild-Centered Play TherapyThe Human Half of Dog Training: Collaborating with Clients to Get Results, and more. Her materials have been translated into several languages. She is also featured in several video-based online courses and the American Psychological Association’s DVD, Filial Play Therapy. She is on the editorial board of two major journals, and is a past president and board chair of the Association for Play Therapy.

Dr. VanFleet has been the recipient of 20 national and international awards, including the PPA’s Distinguished Contributions to the Science and Profession of Psychology Award, several awards for her education and training programs such as APT’s Play Therapy Professional Education and Training Award, 5 awards (Maxwell Awards and Special Awards from the DWAA) for her writing, and 2 awards for her wildlife photography.

Parents

What is Play Therapy?

Play therapy is a type of mental health, educational, or developmental intervention that is designed to help children grow up as happy and well-adjusted as possible.  It involves the use of play to communicate with children and to help children learn to solve problems and change their negative behaviors.  Sometimes it involves the entire family. This section provides more information about topics of interest to parents

Professionals

Expand Your Play and Family TherapySkills

We have assembled a variety of ideas that might be of use to play therapists. Learn about the process of getting certified.

More at IIAAPT

What is Animal Assisted Play Therapy™?

Animal Assisted Play Therapy™ (AAPT) is a full integration of play therapy with animal-assisted therapy, ethology, and several other disciplines. It is primarily for mental health, allied health, and educational purposes. It is valuable in helping children, adolescents, and adults, and can be provided for individuals, groups, and families.

The International Institute for Animal Assisted Play Therapy® (IIAAPT) was founded to provide cutting-edge training, certification, and continuing professional development opportunities for mental health, allied health, education, and animal professionals interested in the integration of psychotherapy, play therapy, and animal assisted therapy, or in providing support services to therapists who wish to conduct AAPT. The practice of AAPT requires a complex set of skills for both therapists and the animals who assist them.

Dog Behavior Consults

Playful Pooch Program

Dr. VanFleet is also a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant and a Certified Animal Ethology and Behavior Instructor. She occasionally does in-home or virtual/video consults for dog behavior concerns. She works with a variety of issues, notably including those of adopted rescue dogs and extreme fear and trauma in several species. She uses only animal-friendly approaches. Contact her at info@iiaapt.org.

What do other professionals say about our courses and books?

I have known Risë for many years, and I can say wholeheartedly that she is a very caring, playful and talented person who is also generous in terms of sharing her knowledge with colleagues and supporting them in a genuine way. Her unique and gentle interest in animal and humankind is a precious gift for all of us who attend her trainings and benefit from her years of experience. I believe those who get the chance to meet with her and attend her trainings will also be able to learn and experience working with...

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Filiz Çetin, M.A., CertCCPT-I, CertFT-I
Psychological Counselor, Istanbul, Turkey

I have known Risë for many years, and I can say wholeheartedly that she is a very caring, playful and talented person who is also generous in terms of sharing her knowledge with colleagues and supporting them in a genuine way. Her unique and gentle interest in animal and humankind is a precious gift for all of us who attend her trainings and benefit from her years of experience. I believe those who get the chance to meet with her and attend her trainings will also be able to learn and experience working with children and families in a very clear and comprehensible way.

Filiz Çetin, M.A., CertCCPT-I, CertFT-I
Psychological Counselor, Istanbul, Turkey
In their new book, Animal Assisted Play Therapy , Risë VanFleet and Tracie Faa-Thompson have created the definitive and comprehensive resource for anyone involved in the field. This book provides an enjoyable and easy-to-read overview of the core principles and processes of AAPT (Animal Assisted Play Therapy). It also offers in-depth information on the theoretical foundations, history, and considerations for practitioners, including the identification and standards for practitioner competencies, both for therapy/clinical skills and in terms of animal handling and knowledge of animal behavior. By presenting a general outline for those new...
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Cathy Reisfield
Founder, Head Trainer and Parent Educator at Dependable Dogs®, specializing in training, education and support services for individuals and families who share their homes with dogs.
In their new book, Animal Assisted Play Therapy, Risë VanFleet and Tracie Faa-Thompson have created the definitive and comprehensive resource for anyone involved in the field. This book provides an enjoyable and easy-to-read overview of the core principles and processes of AAPT (Animal Assisted Play Therapy). It also offers in-depth information on the theoretical foundations, history, and considerations for practitioners, including the identification and standards for practitioner competencies, both for therapy/clinical skills and in terms of animal handling and knowledge of animal behavior. By presenting a general outline for those new to the field and also diving deep into specifics, VanFleet and Faa-Thompson have delivered the first must-have book for those involved in AAPT. The book provides valuable information for those just getting started in AAPT or Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) as it identifies training and preparations needed before getting started in this work and first steps and considerations when one begins to involve animals in the therapeutic process. There is also much here for current practitioners who may wish to evaluate an existing program to both assess and improve those programs. Regardless of the reason you pick up this book, from the opening quote (‘Even the expert was once a beginner’) to a discussion of the needs for specific further research and the issue of credentialing, you will gain a better understanding of how all of the elements of AAPT interrelate. The authors share personal stories and case studies to show the importance of mutually respectful relationships as practitioners work in partnership with animals and the development of the AAPT specialty practice area. The authors are credentialed mental health professionals as well as having credentials as play therapists. Their passion for their work, their clients, and their high regard for animals and the roles animals play in all of our lives is very clear. If you have an interest in this field, and wish to, as the authors describe ‘explore fun, exciting, and novel ways to help our clients with these animals with whom we live, work, and play’ this book will expand your knowledge and provide a great ongoing reference source.
Cathy Reisfield
Founder, Head Trainer and Parent Educator at Dependable Dogs®, specializing in training, education and support services for individuals and families who share their homes with dogs.

Risë's (Family Enhancement & Play Therapy Center) Intensive Filial Therapy (FT) training was honestly the best training that I have ever attended, with its focus on skills development, practice, feedback and theory all in one. It is offered in such a safe and supportive way that the learning over four days was immense. I immediately decided to pursue the Filial Therapy Certification Programme which helped develop my skills and knowledge in a similarly supportive and structured way. Supervision was key as there are many nuances and subtleties to the approach that make...

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Dr Daire Gilmartin (C. Psychol. Ps.S.I), BA (Hons), Grad Dip., MSc., DPsych.
-Principal Counselling Psychologist & Psychotherapist, Multidisciplinary Team, Five Rivers Fostering, Ireland

Risë's (Family Enhancement & Play Therapy Center) Intensive Filial Therapy (FT) training was honestly the best training that I have ever attended, with its focus on skills development, practice, feedback and theory all in one. It is offered in such a safe and supportive way that the learning over four days was immense. I immediately decided to pursue the Filial Therapy Certification Programme which helped develop my skills and knowledge in a similarly supportive and structured way. Supervision was key as there are many nuances and subtleties to the approach that make it so powerful. I am delighted to say that I am now a Certified Filial Therapy Instructor with the FEPTC - Filial Therapy really helps children and families in a way that I have not experienced before. If you're thinking about attending FT training - I would say: Go for it!

Dr Daire Gilmartin (C. Psychol. Ps.S.I), BA (Hons), Grad Dip., MSc., DPsych.
-Principal Counselling Psychologist & Psychotherapist, Multidisciplinary Team, Five Rivers Fostering, Ireland
I didn’t know what modality of therapy I wanted to explore after I became licensed, until I took a course on Filial. The ability to have the parents be the change agent spoke to me. Everything made even more sense after taking an intensive with Rise. The way she brings it all together to help see the ultimate goal of securing attachment validated my choice to make Filial my preferred method of therapy with families.

Betsy Atkins, LCSW, RPT-S
Clinical Provider, Fuller Diagnostics, Anchorage, Alaska
I didn’t know what modality of therapy I wanted to explore after I became licensed, until I took a course on Filial. The ability to have the parents be the change agent spoke to me. Everything made even more sense after taking an intensive with Rise. The way she brings it all together to help see the ultimate goal of securing attachment validated my choice to make Filial my preferred method of therapy with families.
Betsy Atkins, LCSW, RPT-S
Clinical Provider, Fuller Diagnostics, Anchorage, Alaska
The Filial Therapy Intensive is without a doubt the best training I've ever had in 30 years as a family psychologist!

—course evaluation comment
The Filial Therapy Intensive is without a doubt the best training I've ever had in 30 years as a family psychologist!
—course evaluation comment
Animal Assisted Play Therapy by Risë VanFleet and Tracie Faa-Thompson offers an illuminating new resource in the field of the therapeutic inclusion of animals. This powerful and comprehensive new text offers practitioners a substantive and instructive new look at the role of canines and equines as partners in play therapy. I’ve had the opportunity to lead the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work program and each year carefully review the emerging sources of new knowledge available to teach our graduate programs focused on animal assisted social work. Risë VanFleet and Tracie Faa-Thompson represent two...
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Philip Tedeschi
Executive Director, Institute for Human-Animal Connection
Animal Assisted Play Therapy by Risë VanFleet and Tracie Faa-Thompson offers an illuminating new resource in the field of the therapeutic inclusion of animals. This powerful and comprehensive new text offers practitioners a substantive and instructive new look at the role of canines and equines as partners in play therapy. I’ve had the opportunity to lead the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work program and each year carefully review the emerging sources of new knowledge available to teach our graduate programs focused on animal assisted social work. Risë VanFleet and Tracie Faa-Thompson represent two of our most experienced and professional colleagues. This new offering will be added to the important sources of information and best practice for those professionals incorporating animals in their clinical practice. Attention to understanding and partnering with the specific animals, thoughtfully presented case examples with attention to applied ethics, safety, animal well-being and evidence-oriented goals make this book an important contribution to understanding and optimizing the power of the human-animal connection. This book is destined to become an important part of our field’s core training competencies and a showcase for the many benefits and potential offered by Animal Assisted Play Therapy.
Philip Tedeschi
Executive Director, Institute for Human-Animal Connection
I loved the small group size of the Child-Centered and Filial Therapy workshops, and the individual feedback I got. It helped me feel confident.

—course evaluation comment
I loved the small group size of the Child-Centered and Filial Therapy workshops, and the individual feedback I got. It helped me feel confident.
—course evaluation comment
Highly recommended to AAPT practitioners and to parents of children involved with AAPT, so they can participate more fully in the therapy. Also, I’d strongly recommend it to practitioners who have ‘office pets’ who may double as informal ‘therapy animals ,’ since the book gives excellent tips on liability, choosing the proper animal and setting, and avoiding ‘bad outcomes .’

Merijeanne Moore, DO
Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association; Past President of the Alaska Psychiatric Association; 30 years in practice, including the Air Force Medical Corps and private and public inpatient adolescent and adult psychiatry
Highly recommended to AAPT practitioners and to parents of children involved with AAPT, so they can participate more fully in the therapy. Also, I’d strongly recommend it to practitioners who have ‘office pets’ who may double as informal ‘therapy animals,’ since the book gives excellent tips on liability, choosing the proper animal and setting, and avoiding ‘bad outcomes.’
Merijeanne Moore, DO
Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association; Past President of the Alaska Psychiatric Association; 30 years in practice, including the Air Force Medical Corps and private and public inpatient adolescent and adult psychiatry
I received more helpful feedback from the Filial workshop than I ever did in grad school.

—course evaluation comment
I received more helpful feedback from the Filial workshop than I ever did in grad school.
—course evaluation comment
Filial Therapy has been one of my go to techniques ever since I learned it some 25 years ago! Parents and clients LOVE it and it has helped so many families. After using it, I often have clients' neighbors and friends calling for appointments because they heard such great things about it. Thanks Risë - for teaching Filial Therapy!

Val MIraglia LPA, LPC/S, RPT-S, FT/S/I, CAAPT/S
Sole Proprietor of Integrative Therapy: Play Therapist for 30 years in Anchorage, Alaska
Filial Therapy has been one of my go to techniques ever since I learned it some 25 years ago! Parents and clients LOVE it and it has helped so many families. After using it, I often have clients' neighbors and friends calling for appointments because they heard such great things about it. Thanks Risë - for teaching Filial Therapy!
Val MIraglia LPA, LPC/S, RPT-S, FT/S/I, CAAPT/S
Sole Proprietor of Integrative Therapy: Play Therapist for 30 years in Anchorage, Alaska
VanFleet & Faa-Thompson are pioneers in the field of Animal Assisted Play Therapy (AAPT). Many healthcare and human service providers are interested in the inclusion of animals in practice, and this book offers critical information and considerations for both novice and experienced practitioners of any discipline. The authors discuss the foundations, principles, theory, and competencies for AAPT and take on the more challenging topics that must be considered before including AAPT in practice. This is one of the few books that discusses the professional issues, ethics, and welfare as it directly...

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Melissa Winkle, OTR/L, FAOTA
President, Dogwood Therapy Services and Animal Assisted Intervention International; Editor and author of the book series Professional Applications of Animal Assisted Interventions
VanFleet & Faa-Thompson are pioneers in the field of Animal Assisted Play Therapy (AAPT). Many healthcare and human service providers are interested in the inclusion of animals in practice, and this book offers critical information and considerations for both novice and experienced practitioners of any discipline. The authors discuss the foundations, principles, theory, and competencies for AAPT and take on the more challenging topics that must be considered before including AAPT in practice. This is one of the few books that discusses the professional issues, ethics, and welfare as it directly applies to AAPT. Both authors are well rounded and respected in their field for work with humans, and for their continuing education and qualifications to humanely and respectfully work with animals, and to teach workshops on this topic. This book is an important addition to every practitioner’s library who has an interest in animal assisted therapy, and a must-have to fulfill the required competencies for practice in this specialty area.
Melissa Winkle, OTR/L, FAOTA
President, Dogwood Therapy Services and Animal Assisted Intervention International; Editor and author of the book series Professional Applications of Animal Assisted Interventions
I recall several years ago listening to a podcast on Animal Assisted Play Therapy (AAPT). Risë VanFleet was sharing about this type of treatment and the ways it could be beneficial for children. As I listened to Risë describe the process of AAPT, I remember thinking what an incredible process this could be for so many children in therapy. Fast forward several years and VanFleet and Faa-Thompson have amassed a comprehensive and thoroughly enjoyable book about AAPT. Not only does this book present a clear definition of AAPT, it is full of case examples...

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Robert Jason Grant, EdD, LPC, RPT-S, CAS
Play and behavioral therapist, author of Play-Based Interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorder and Other Developmental Disabilities, and creator of AutPlay Therapy (a play and behavioral therapy for neurodevelopmental disorders)
I recall several years ago listening to a podcast on Animal Assisted Play Therapy (AAPT). Risë VanFleet was sharing about this type of treatment and the ways it could be beneficial for children. As I listened to Risë describe the process of AAPT, I remember thinking what an incredible process this could be for so many children in therapy. Fast forward several years and VanFleet and Faa-Thompson have amassed a comprehensive and thoroughly enjoyable book about AAPT. Not only does this book present a clear definition of AAPT, it is full of case examples, theoretical understanding, practical implementation, research, and a clear unison of animal assisted therapy and play therapy. It is the definitive guide on AAPT. Practitioners will enjoy reading and learning about AAPT and appreciate the level of thoroughness that the authors have mastered in bringing this much-needed treatment to the forefront of therapeutic options.
Robert Jason Grant, EdD, LPC, RPT-S, CAS
Play and behavioral therapist, author of Play-Based Interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorder and Other Developmental Disabilities, and creator of AutPlay Therapy (a play and behavioral therapy for neurodevelopmental disorders)
Risë VanFleet and Tracie Faa-Thompson do a wonderful job in explaining Animal Assisted Play Therapy — including the benefits, the animal-human bond, competencies, how involving dogs in therapy can be empowering for the client, prepping your animal for this job, and so much more! As a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant and trainer who also works with horses on occasion, I’ve gained new insight from this book. The coverage of why people sometimes unknowingly behave in ways that create stress for their animals and how to help them gain awareness while changing their behavior...

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Pamela Dennison, CDBC
Author of 5 books and 3 DVDs, including You Can Train Your Dog: Mastering the Art & Science of Modern Dog Training and The R.E.W.A.R.D. Zone for Aggressive & Reactive Dogs
Risë VanFleet and Tracie Faa-Thompson do a wonderful job in explaining Animal Assisted Play Therapy— including the benefits, the animal-human bond, competencies, how involving dogs in therapy can be empowering for the client, prepping your animal for this job, and so much more! As a Certified Dog Behavior Consultant and trainer who also works with horses on occasion, I’ve gained new insight from this book. The coverage of why people sometimes unknowingly behave in ways that create stress for their animals and how to help them gain awareness while changing their behavior is particularly helpful for those of us in the animal professions. The similarities of helping therapy clients interact with animals with my own work teaching people to train their dogs were fascinating and affirming of the way I work with my own dog behavior and training clients! The many case examples in the book also offer ideas and directions for animal professionals who wish to assist therapists using AAPT in their work. I was particularly glad to see sections on becoming centered, how being in nature can facilitate therapy, developing respect and proper care for one’s animal in therapy, how the therapist-animal team must adjust to the needs of each other, and as part of that and just as important, the need for therapists to be able to properly read the animal for signs of stress. Without reciprocity in this special partnership, all will come to nought. Changing one’s human behavior to effect change in the animal is an important cornerstone of a solid relationship—in and out of the therapy. Because my focus is always on the dogs, I especially liked the discussions of competencies needed by therapists as well as choosing the right animal for the job, so this doesn’t become simply ‘taking my nice little dog to work with me.’ It takes a highly skilled person to successfully dovetail both components (animals and therapy) and this book details many of those skills to develop an effective and beneficial program. I enthusiastically encourage anyone who is interested in AAPT and AAT, whether just starting or with many years of experience, to read this well researched and practical book. It contains many gems of solid wisdom!
Pamela Dennison, CDBC
Author of 5 books and 3 DVDs, including You Can Train Your Dog: Mastering the Art & Science of Modern Dog Training and The R.E.W.A.R.D. Zone for Aggressive & Reactive Dogs
This is a hugely important contribution to the field of Animal-Assisted Therapy. In this book VanFleet and Faa-Thompson provide the first comprehensive overview of Animal Assisted Play Therapy through theory to practice, with the importance of relationship and ethics and welfare of the therapy animals being central. This book will be a leader in the field for years to come.

Hannah Louise Burgon, PhD
Founder and Co-Director of Sirona Therapeutic Horsemanship; Author of Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning with At-Risk Young People; Qualified Social Worker; Founder and Director of Sirona Therapeutic Horsemanship in the UK
This is a hugely important contribution to the field of Animal-Assisted Therapy. In this book VanFleet and Faa-Thompson provide the first comprehensive overview of Animal Assisted Play Therapy through theory to practice, with the importance of relationship and ethics and welfare of the therapy animals being central. This book will be a leader in the field for years to come.
Hannah Louise Burgon, PhD
Founder and Co-Director of Sirona Therapeutic Horsemanship; Author of Equine Assisted Therapy and Learning with At-Risk Young People; Qualified Social Worker; Founder and Director of Sirona Therapeutic Horsemanship in the UK
Animal Assisted Play Therapy is a rich and valuable resource for both aspiring and experienced AAPT therapists. VanFleet and Faa-Thompson integrate their professionalism in the area of play therapy, deep acquaintance with dogs and horses, and extensive AAPT experience in a way that brings the reader to a multilevel understanding of the field of AAPT, for all its complexities and opportunities it provides for insight and healing. This book differs from many others in that it recognizes the centrality of the client’s and therapist’s relationships with the animals and their implications for the psychotherapy...
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Nancy Parish-Plass
Chairperson of the Israeli Association of Animal-Assisted Psychotherapy; AnimalAssisted Psychotherapist at the Ahava Emergency Shelter for At-Risk Children; Editor of Animal-Assisted Psychotherapy: Theory, Issues, and Practice
Animal Assisted Play Therapy is a rich and valuable resource for both aspiring and experienced AAPT therapists. VanFleet and Faa-Thompson integrate their professionalism in the area of play therapy, deep acquaintance with dogs and horses, and extensive AAPT experience in a way that brings the reader to a multilevel understanding of the field of AAPT, for all its complexities and opportunities it provides for insight and healing. This book differs from many others in that it recognizes the centrality of the client’s and therapist’s relationships with the animals and their implications for the psychotherapy process. Indeed, the subject of these relationships, together with the subjects of professional training, ethics, and animal welfare, are woven into the chapters throughout the book, showing their critical implications for understanding and implementing AAPT at every level. The authors cover various issues, unique to the field of AAPT, that are imperative for the AAPT therapist to consider. The book also dismantles certain long-standing myths about the field of AAT: AAT is not based on magical process, the animal does not need extensive obedience training, and the animal is not the therapist. The authors of Animal Assisted Play Therapy make an important contribution to the development of AAPT as a serious clinical field.
Nancy Parish-Plass
Chairperson of the Israeli Association of Animal-Assisted Psychotherapy; AnimalAssisted Psychotherapist at the Ahava Emergency Shelter for At-Risk Children; Editor of Animal-Assisted Psychotherapy: Theory, Issues, and Practice
This book marks an evolutionary leap for the human-animal bond. Our dependence on animals is no less great in the 21st century. It’s just that now we need them to feed our soul and save us from enemies within. And they can, but only if we dare to become conscious of just how profound our partnerships can be. Thank you Risë and Tracie for showing us how to lose and find ourselves in play with animals!

Meg Daley Olmert
Author of Made For Each Other: The Biology of the Human-Animal Bond; Director of Research for Warrior Canine Connection, Inc.
This book marks an evolutionary leap for the human-animal bond. Our dependence on animals is no less great in the 21st century. It’s just that now we need them to feed our soul and save us from enemies within. And they can, but only if we dare to become conscious of just how profound our partnerships can be. Thank you Risë and Tracie for showing us how to lose and find ourselves in play with animals!
Meg Daley Olmert
Author of Made For Each Other: The Biology of the Human-Animal Bond; Director of Research for Warrior Canine Connection, Inc.
This is a book about reciprocally rewarding relationships between and among therapists, clients, and the very special animals that have become partners in play therapy. It is a seamless blend of personal narratives, case studies, sound advice for mental health professionals, and rigorous scholarly work. From the first chapter that explains how the authors became interested in the human-animal bond all the way to the last chapter on future directions, their insights ring true. Rather than just writing about Animal Assisted Play Therapy, they live it and use it to reach children for whom other interventions frequently have failed. If ...

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Mary Renck Jalongo, PhD
Journal and Book Series Editor, Springer Nature
This is a book about reciprocally rewarding relationships between and among therapists, clients, and the very special animals that have become partners in play therapy. It is a seamless blend of personal narratives, case studies, sound advice for mental health professionals, and rigorous scholarly work. From the first chapter that explains how the authors became interested in the human-animal bond all the way to the last chapter on future directions, their insights ring true. Rather than just writing about Animal Assisted Play Therapy, they live it and use it to reach children for whom other interventions frequently have failed. If you are a newcomer to the field, expect to get a thorough orientation. If you are an experienced play therapist, expect to have your assumptions challenged. These coauthors share impressive credentials, vast experience and considerable wisdom, wit, and candor. They are exceptionally capable guides to the world of Animal Assisted Play Therapy.
Mary Renck Jalongo, PhD
Journal and Book Series Editor, Springer Nature
This book by the pioneers of Animal Assisted Play Therapy (AAPT) is by far the most comprehensive, detailed, and practical guide for practitioners and students in the field. The wealth of experience of the authors informs every section of this book. It is well-organized, written in a lively, humorous, and readable style and will serve as a unique reference for AAPT for years to come.

David A. Crenshaw, PhD, ABPP
Author and Co-Editor of Play Therapy: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory and Practice (and others); Clinical Director of Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie (NY)
This book by the pioneers of Animal Assisted Play Therapy (AAPT) is by far the most comprehensive, detailed, and practical guide for practitioners and students in the field. The wealth of experience of the authors informs every section of this book. It is well-organized, written in a lively, humorous, and readable style and will serve as a unique reference for AAPT for years to come.
David A. Crenshaw, PhD, ABPP
Author and Co-Editor of Play Therapy: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory and Practice (and others); Clinical Director of Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie (NY)
Dr. Risë VanFleet and Tracie Faa-Thompson have partnered to provide a definitive guide to the implementation of Animal Assisted Play Therapy. Bringing a combined wealth of knowledge and experience with dogs, horses, and human mental health, they provide a scientifically based but practical outline to the field of animal assisted interventions. While providing a good argument for the importance of having sound human clinical skills before adding an animal component to therapy, they also emphasize the well-being of all animals involved. In selecting and training their animal partners to designing interventions that...

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Nancy Dreschel, DVM, PhD
Instructor of Companion Animal Science, Researcher, Pennsylvania State University
Dr. Risë VanFleet and Tracie Faa-Thompson have partnered to provide a definitive guide to the implementation of Animal Assisted Play Therapy. Bringing a combined wealth of knowledge and experience with dogs, horses, and human mental health, they provide a scientifically based but practical outline to the field of animal assisted interventions. While providing a good argument for the importance of having sound human clinical skills before adding an animal component to therapy, they also emphasize the well-being of all animals involved. In selecting and training their animal partners to designing interventions that will most benefit their clients, they are always cognizant and respectful of the effect of this work on the animals themselves. In this time of increased interest and recognition of animal assisted therapy, practitioners should look out for the well-being of all who are involved in these complex interactions. It is refreshing to know that there is a good resource that can guide them in this pursuit.
Nancy Dreschel, DVM, PhD
Instructor of Companion Animal Science, Researcher, Pennsylvania State University
Professionals in the field of animal-assisted interactions have long sought an experience- and science-based text. This is it. The authors provide comprehensive information across the treatment spectrum, from choosing an animal through working with that partner to the end of that partner's career. The reader is challenged to look closely at his/her own work. Practicing empathy and respect for animals as well as clients is artfully woven into every chapter. This book needs not only to be on the shelf, but also to be read by every human healthcare professional who works with animals.

Ann R. Howie, LICSW, ACSW
Author of Teaming with Your Therapy Dog Adjunct Professor, University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work CEO, Human-Animal Solutions, PLLC
Professionals in the field of animal-assisted interactions have long sought an experience- and science-based text. This is it. The authors provide comprehensive information across the treatment spectrum, from choosing an animal through working with that partner to the end of that partner's career. The reader is challenged to look closely at his/her own work. Practicing empathy and respect for animals as well as clients is artfully woven into every chapter. This book needs not only to be on the shelf, but also to be read by every human healthcare professional who works with animals.
Ann R. Howie, LICSW, ACSW
Author of Teaming with Your Therapy Dog Adjunct Professor, University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work CEO, Human-Animal Solutions, PLLC

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