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We help you prepare your companion animal to help and serve others.

Dr. Parrish's therapy dog

Michael Parrish, Psyd, MSW, JD – Picks the appropriate puppy from the litter to raise, teach and train his companion animal to accompany him into his practice.  He has been using a dog in his practice for over 10 years with great success accelerating the process of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy/ Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

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The goal of AAT is to improve a patient’s social, emotional, or cognitive functioning. Advocates state that animals can be useful for educational and motivational effectiveness. With a range of goals, the greatest impact of utilizing AAI is its ability to enhance ones capacity to form positive relationships with others.  Petting a dog promotes relaxation, characterized by decreased blood pressure and increases in peripheral skin temperature. Other benefits include releasing stress, increasing morale, increased calmness, decrease preoperative anxiety, improve patient outlook, reduce the need for preoperative medication, reduce fear and anxiety in patients with a psychiatric condition.

Benefits - There are numerous techniques used in AAT, depending on the needs and condition of the patient. AAT provides patients with opportunities to have close physical contact with the animal’s warm bodies, feeling heartbeats, caress soft skins and coats and notice breathing.  AAT encourages expressions of emotions and cognitive stimulation through discussions and reminiscing of memories while the patient bonds with the animal. A therapist who brings along a pet may be viewed as being less threatening, increasing the rapport between patient and therapist.

The different modalities  AAA/AAT & AAI - 

Animal Assisted Activity (AAA) - is provided in a casual or leisure way, in a variety of settings, may be group or individual and may be implemented by trained personnel. The AAA practitioner/animal handler is specially trained by an organization and meets organizational standards. Teams who provide AAA may also participate in Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) or Animal Assisted Education (AAE) when the team is working directly with a healthcare, social service provider or with an educational practitioner. 


Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) - is a type of therapy that involves animals as a form of treatment. Animal Assisted therapy draws on the bond between animals and humans in order to help improve and maintain an individual’s function and is utilized to assist in the process of enhancing the individual’s quality of life. An AAT intervention is formally goal-directed and designed to promote improvement in physical, social, emotional and/or cognitive functioning of the person as part of the treatment process. AAT is directed by a health/human service professional with specialized expertise and within the scope of practice of his/her profession. 


Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI) - the goal-directed intervention designed to promote improvement in physical, social, emotional and/or cognitive functioning of the person(s) involved is utilized with specific goals where the process is documented and evaluated.  AAT may be provided in a variety of settings, may be group or individual in nature and may be implemented for persons of any age.


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