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Courses in Social Work & Counseling

This is a list of colleges and universities in North America which provide courses for Social Work & Counseling in relation to the human-animal relationship.  This includes the name of the college, the name of the course, who is teaching the course, and brief description of the Social Work & Counseling course that the instructor will be covering.


Arizona State University

Human-Other Animal Relationships

Christina Risley-Curtiss

This course focuses on two broad areas of current significance for health and human service professionals;(1) the link between non-human animal abuse and other forms of violence such as domestic violence, child and elder abuse; and (2) the powerful potential that positive connections with other animals have for healing and promoting resiliency in human beings while at the same time benefiting other animals. This course examines issues of prevention and treatment; it considers animals across the human life span, non-human animal abuse, and healing connections within an ecological and empowerment context; and works to build sensitivity to various cultural contexts. This is a prerequisite for courses TAA2 for students pursuing one of the two certificates.

Assessment and Treatment of Animal Cruelty

Christina Risley-Curtiss

Designed for both mental health practitioners and other professionals working with adults and children, this course presents AniCare® an assessment and treatment approach for children and adults and children who have abused animals. Based on a well-established clinical theory and interventions for perpetrators of domestic violence, AniCare® emphasizes the social-psychological causes of violence. Building on cognitive behavioral, psychodynamic, and attachment theories, AniCare® Child keys on empathy and self-management. Through a manual, a demonstration DVD, and clinical case materials, students are introduced to a variety of exercises and other tools, such as puppet role play and projective material.

Human Animal Connections

Christina Risley-Curtiss

Animals are an integral part of the lives of many of the clients that social workers serve. This may be in the form of violence to animals as well as other family members, or as companions and/or therapeutic supports. This course is designed to help the student develop an understanding of the animal-human connection-both the negative and positive sides– and acquire some basic skills in identifying animal cruelty and in accessing and utilizing animal-assisted activities and therapy.


Georgian Court University

The Human-Animal Bond

Cheryl Resnick-Cortes


University of Denver

Animals in Therapeutic Settings

Phil Tedeschi

Explores the human-animal bond and potential for therapeutic intervention with the animal as teacher, therapist, facilitator and companion in a number of therapeutic settings. Focuses on core skills for social workers seeking to integrate this clinical approach into their practice. A required course for the Animal-Assisted Social Work Certificate.

Animal Assisted Social Work Practices

Phil Tedeschi

This course provides a comprehensive examination of approaches to Animal Assisted Social Work (AASW) and emphasizes clinical application skills utilized with a broad array of persons and in a number of therapeutic settings. Students will learn to design, implement and analyze the efficacy of AASW approaches within their chosen area of specialization, providing an opportunity to practice these approaches in their field internships. Students will learn to clearly articulate, assess, and intervene in “link” violence as it relates to social work practices and AASW implications. A required course for the Animal-Assisted Social Work certificate. Prerequiste: SOWK 4795 or permission of instructor.

Orientation to Animal-Assisted Interventions Online Course

The Orientation to Animal-Assisted Interventions professional development course provides an introduction to the field of human-animal interactions, including topics addressing the impact of the human-animal bond across lifespans, animal-assisted interventions (including animal-assisted activities and animal-assisted therapy), and considerations for the welfare of working animals. This online, four-week course is intended for those interested in the Animals and Human Health (AHH) certificate program who have limited or no experience with animal-assisted interventions and/or for those who would like a general overview of the impact animals have on human health both psychologically and physiologically. The course can serve as a stand-alone overview or as an introduction to concepts and terminology central to the AHH certificate program.  A variety of reading, writing, technology- and community-based assignments will serve as the basis of learning.


University of Georgia

The Human-Animal Bond

Patricia M. Reeves


University of Michigan

Social Work and the Human-Animal Bond

Kristine Siefert


University of North Texas

Animal Assisted Therapy

Cynthia Chandler

Animal-assisted therapy is the incorporation of qualified animals into a therapeutic environment. Explores techniques to facilitate animal-assisted therapeutic interventions in a variety of settings, including schools, counseling agencies, hospitals, nursing homes, hospices, prisons and facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities. A variety of animals can be suitable for therapy programs. The student need not have an animal or pet to take the course.


University of Pennsylvania School of Public Policy and Practice

Foundations of Animal-Assisted Interventions and Social Work

Phil Arkow


Veterinary Social Work Program

Elizabeth Strand

This is a cross-disciplinary program with the UT College of Veterinary Medicine to address employment opportunities for social workers in veterinary hospitals, veterinary colleges, grief counseling, pet loss, helping clients work through economic issues surrounding their pets, compassion fatigue, suicide awareness, etc. A Veterinary Social Work Certificate is offered.


University of Texas Pan American

Spirituality and Social Work

Catherine Faver

This is taught as an elective in our MSSW program. Relevant topics include vegetarianism as spiritual practice and responsibility; the spiritual dimension of the human-animal bond; the therapeutic effects of companion animals in various social contexts.

Human Behavior and the Social Environment: Institutions, Organizations, and Communities

Catherine Faver

This is a required social work course. Relevant topics I included in the course: impact of the natural environment on human health and well-being (including the impact of factory farming and the benefits of vegetarianism); the link between animal abuse and family violence; the therapeutic effects of animals in various social contexts such as residential and other treatment facilities

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