The Human-Animal Bond in Clinical Social Work Practice

Research output: Book/ReportBook


The human-animal bond may be described as a dynamic, relationship between people and the animals they care for. There are a multitude of mental and physical health benefits for people who care for animals, and animals in therapy have been shown to aid a wide range of people and illnesses. Although the benefits of animal companionship have long been suspected, little is known about the research, the process, or why it works. This book provides clinicians with a history of the human-animal bond and the rationale for incorporating animals into therapy today.

In this book, the author includes a discussion of the myriad of ways that clinicians can directly help people care for their pets, such as crisis intervention services, policy issues, grief counseling for pet loss, and compassion fatigue in the veterinary profession. There also is a thorough discussion of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) as a distinct and unique modality. The adaptive nature of AAT is not only due to the symbiotic relationship between humans and animals, but also because of the flexible nature of the model; it can be used with clients of all demographics and with most mental illnesses. Research shows that the majority of mental health practitioners believe that AAT is a valid treatment modality, but AAT has not yet been manualized and clinicians are left confused about where to start.

The Human-Animal Bond in Clinical Social Work Practice is a unique and essential resource that provides guidelines for developing AAT treatment plans and integrating AAT with existing therapeutic models. The book answers the questions that social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other mental health counselors may have about the benefits of the human-animal bond and ways to tap into that special bond in direct practice.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages112
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-87783-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-87782-8
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NameEssential Clinical Social Work Series
ISSN (Print)2520-162X
ISSN (Electronic)2520-1611


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