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.
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