Description: Constructs of human-animal relational theory (HART) were investigated to determine how those constructs manifested in animal-assisted therapy in counseling (AAT-C) from the perspectives of 6 participants (2 counselors, females, ages 28 and 32, both non-Hispanic and White; 2 clients, male and female, ages 55 and 23, respectively, both non-Hispanic and White; and, 2 therapy animals, canines, Labrador retriever and spaniel mix, ages 4 and 5, respectively). Using constructivist-grounded theory, a research team analyzed qualitative data from observations, interviews, and field notes. From the iterative process of multiphasic coding and constant comparison, these findings emerged: (a) consistency between Chandler's (in press) constructs and participants' experiences of AAT-C, (b) more meaningful therapeutic impacts for clients from client-initiated human-animal relational processes (HARPs) than counselor-initiated HARPs, (c) development of rich definitions and descriptions of Chandler's constructs, and (d) descriptions of interactive experiences of AAT-C and client resistance in the context of HART. Clinicians and educators in the field of AAT can apply the processes, practices, and principles from this study in their work to enhance positive therapeutic impacts for clients. As Chandler's constructs were supported in this study, AAT authors and researchers can solve a glaring problem of inconsistent terminology in the AAT literature by using those constructs in future studies and publications as operationalized nomenclature for standardized AAT interventions.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Otting, Tiffany L