Animal Assisted Therapy

Level: Practitioner QLS level 3

By successfully completing this course, you will:

  • Gain skills and knowledge to practice Animal Assisted Therapy – graduates of this course can also obtain professional liability insurance
  • Receive the Certificate of Achievement at QLS Level 3*
  • Become a Registered BSY Animal Assisted Therapy Practitioner
  • Be awarded the professional BSY Diploma
  • Be eligible to become a member of AHCP (Association of Complementary Practitioners)

You can study this course from the comfort of your own home; in your own time and at your own pace; with helpful support and encouragement from our friendly tutors.

Course overview

Based on clinical observations and data from existing studies, researchers have suggested that repeated interaction with a companion animal could have beneficial long-term effects.  The purpose of animal assisted therapy (AAT) is to strengthen, support and help people to live rewarding and healthy lives.  This course examines the benefits of AAT, the way in which animals can provide social support, and the relationship between animals and humans. You will understand the way in which an animal is chosen and trained, and the way in which a client is screened for suitability for AAT work. You will also learn how to devise programmes and how to use solution-focused therapy in order to help a wide range of people.


  • Lesson One
    • The History and Benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy
      • History
      • The Human-Animal Connection
      • The Risks of Animal Assisted Therapy
      • The Benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy
  • Lesson Two
    • The Differences between Animal Assisted Activities and Animal Assisted Therapy/ Social Support
      • Animal Assisted Activities
      • Animal Assisted Therapy
      • Social Support through Animal Relationships
      • The Benefits of Therapy Animals
  • Lesson Three
    • Selecting an Animal for Therapy Work
      • Therapy Dogs
      • Testing Puppies
      • Testing Older Dogs
      • Canine Culture
  • Lesson Four
    • Selecting an Animal for Therapy Work (Continued)/ Training an Animal for Therapy Work
      • Therapy Cats
      • Therapy Horses
      • Small Therapy Animals
      • Socialisation
      • Touch Desensitisation
      • Obedience Training
      • Special Skills
  • Lesson Five
    • Client Screening/ Standards of Practice and Care/ AAT Counselling Techniques/ Designing and Implementing AAT Programmes
      • Informed Consent
      • Using AAT in the Counselling Session
      • Rules for Guiding AAT Programmes
  • Lesson Six
    • Using Animals as Part of Solution-focused Therapy
      • AAT and Solution-focused Therapy
      • Problem-solving versus Solution-building
      • The Goals of AAT and Solution-focused Therapy
      • Purposeful Interventions
      • Example of an AAT Intervention
  • Lesson Seven
    • Structuring an AAT Session/ AAT with Children
      • Relational Techniques
      • Animal Assisted Interventions
      • Cultural Differences in Attitudes towards Animals
      • Play Therapy
      • School-based Programmes
  • Lesson Eight
    • Working with Older People and Special Populations/ Creating a Successful AAT Programme
      • Adolescents
      • Adults
      • Elderly Clients
      • Substance Abusers
      • Victims of Violence
      • Erikson’s Eight Stages of Development
      • General Welfare Considerations

Practical training

No practical training is required to complete this course.

*Registration fee included.