Overview of Oakland's Program
Oakland University’s Animal Assisted Therapy Certificate program addresses several health and social issues, including an increased need for alternative, innovative and holistic practices.
Taught by multidisciplinary professionals, Oakland’s animal assisted therapy program helps fulfill the need for alternative, innovative and holistic health care practices. In addition, animal assisted therapy addresses several social issues, such as:
Theories behind AAT:
- providing educational, therapeutic and health benefits for at-risk children and adolescents, the elderly and other special-needs populations
- helping patients in nursing homes, counseling centers and hospitals
There are a variety of theories that can be used. This is an article
that was presented at the American Counseling Association Conference in New Orleans in 2011 on incorporating theories into practice.
What is AAT certification?
AAT Certificate Program focuses on the differences between Animal Assisted Activities and Animal Assisted Therapy and how to setup a program to achieve the outcomes you'd like to see within the population with which you are working. This program is ideal for people in service professions (teachers, nurses, therapists,occupational therapists, etc.) who want to add AAT to their skill set and introduce either their own animals or other animals or people who want to conduct AAT, start a non profit or become a more credible volunteer.
What types of animals can be used in AAT?
Cats, dogs, horses, rabbits, hamsters,etc. This program will help you identify what animals/pets would make safe, reliable therapy animals.
The program is offered completely online. It runs in a consecutive format (two modules per semester for 2 1/2 semesters). There are deadlines and weekly due dates for assignments, but you can do them and post at your discretion. Most students say that the work is not overwhelming and many work full time jobs or take full time classes along with this program. We offer a capstone project which includes the writing of a full proposal/business-type plan rather than an internship. At the end, you will receive a professional development certificate from Oakland University.
Is the program accredited?
There is no national accrediting body for AAT, but having a certificate will make you more credible. We want to demonstrate how to incorporate AAT into any service field or type of service organization and you will have the chance to create by the end of the courses a plan specific to your needs that can be presented to a supervisor or potential facility for approval to add AAT to the location of your choice. This program will help establish standards and competencies for your work.
Examples of Goals for AAT:
The goal we want to achieve with each person that enters our program is to help them reach their own goals for their AAT programs.
AAT can assist with these goals and changes:
- Physical Changes ( disabilities, body posture, etc.)
- Cognitive Changes (Learning, etc.)
- Emotional Changes (Feeling, Recognizing, etc.)
- Physiological changes (Heart rate, etc.)
- Behavioral Changes (Altering behaviors)
Applying for this program at Oakland University will benefit you by reaching for your goals and creating new opportunities.
What to expect when being taught in this program:
- Perspective taking
- Sense of purpose
- And many other ways.
Understanding the nature and power of the bond allows us to harness it in powerful ways.
What you'll learn:
Oakland University’s academic approach to animal therapy will help you develop an overall understanding of the human animal bond and healing implications with vulnerable populations. You’ll learn:
- How to incorporate animal assisted therapy in current practices.
- How animal assisted research applies to real-life applications
- What the difference is between animal assisted therapy and pet therapy.
- How to gain a theoretical framework for animal assisted therapy interventions how to start your own non-profit organization
- Where to volunteer.
- We are using this in those simplest of terms- a relationship that provides a sense of safety and reduces anxiety or stress
- None of these are uniquely human (insel, 1997)- Social dynamics between people and pets have qualities similar to that of human social relationships.
* AAT was created in 2007 for the demand people had for the program. A grant from the president’s office allowed the program to accept students from all over the world. This program is great for anyone who wants to accept AAT into their work with starting non-profit groups or become a better volunteer for some of these groups. This is an easy program completely online based with 5 Modules throughout a one year span. This online course will give you well-rounded training for your future involvement with AAT. The best part is that the workload is manageable and will teach you great skills involving Animal Assisted Therapy. The workload is at your own pace to work with your schedule of time.