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Animal-Assisted Therapy

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Animal Assisted Therapy Consent and Release of Liability Beth Matenaer, LPC Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) is a form of creative therapy that utilizes credentialed therapy animals and handlers (people who manage the animal) to provide goal-directed therapy to individuals. AAT can be used with various psychological, emotional, developmental, cognitive, motivational, or physical concerns. Any fear of dogs should be reported before treatment starts so proper precautionary measures can be taken and appropriateness determined. As our therapy animals are a vital part of our counseling team, we hope that you are comfortable with their presence in our office and in your sessions. However, because they are animals, we are responsible for their welfare. Also, because they are animals, their behavior cannot always be predictable. Therefore, it is important to discuss the rules needed to insure your safety and health, as well as our animals’ safety and health. We want to create as safe a working situation as possible, and to provide you with diligent warning about the potential harm that can be present when working with animals. Office Rules Regarding Therapy Animals • Our animals have individual rights, just as each client has rights. Therefore, the animals are allowed to determine if and when they participate with others. While it may be planned to have an animal in session, they will never be forced to participate. • Our animals will have their own quiet space in the office where they can rest, sleep, or just take a quiet break. They should not be disturbed when they are in that area. • Our animals should always be treated gently. They should never be hit, have their tail or other body parts pulled, be carried, or be treated in a way that is uncomfortable for them. • Beth Matenaer will always need to be present during any therapeutic situation with an animal. • If an animal becomes irritated, scared, or in any way acts in a negative manner, I will put him in a safe place. No other person should touch him at these times. Risks Associated with Animal Assisted Therapy Our animals have been screened by a veterinarian before joining our therapy team; therefore, risks associated with AAT with our animals are very small. However, we cannot eliminate all risk and we cannot foresee all potential problems that may occur. • Anyone wishing to participate in AAT should be screened for allergies before working with our animals. All allergies must be reported before beginning treatment so proper precautionary measures can be taken. Neither Beth Matenaer nor Park Place Counseling can be held liable for allergic or other physiological reactions to our animals. • Animals use their bodies to communicate and may brush against or lean into a person. Other body language such as tail wagging or body wiggling may also occur. Such behaviors create a risk for loss of balance, falling, or light bruising. Neither Beth Matenaer nor Park Place Counseling can be held liable for injury incurred by physically engaging with our animals. • Animals have their own natural defenses. While the therapist will do everything possible to prevent any injury, it is possible that someone will get scratched or bitten. • Animals often use their mouths in play. Therefore, even when playing, it is possible for light biting to occur. By signing this form, you are releasing Beth Matenaer, LPC and Park Place Counseling, LLC from any liability should any injury occur as a part of your or your child’s participation in AAT. By signing below you are also stating your acceptance of these rules and risks and agree to accept full liability in the event that our therapy animals harm you or your child in any way during the course of treatment at Park Place Counseling.

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