Animal Assisted Therapy and Rogers’ Core Components Among Middle School Students Receiving Counseling Services

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Journal of Creativity in Mental Health

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Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is an effective counseling method, yet the reasons for this effectiveness are not well understood. It has been theorized but not empirically verified that AAT participants view therapy animals as possessing Carl Rogers’s core counselor characteristics (Friesen, 2010; Parish-Plass, 2008).This study examined the degree to which 312 middle school students in Grades 4 through 8 rated an AAT dog on Rogers’s core counselor characteristics using the Barrett-Lennard Relationship Inventory (1962). The findings show that the AAT dog was rated highly on the 3 Rogerian traits level of regard, empathy, and congruence.