What is AAP

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At Animal Assisted Therapy Programs of Colorado we provide professional Animal Assisted Psychotherapy. Animal Assisted Psychotherapy (AAP) is not the same as Animal Assisted Activities (AAA), where volunteers bring their animals to visit with individuals in need.

True Animal Assisted Psychotherapy is provided by a trained counselor or therapist with their trained (and ideally certified) therapy animal within that professional’s “scope of experience” and “scope of practice”.*

All activities conducted with Animal Assisted Psychotherapy are considered “therapeutic” in nature. As such each intervention that includes the animal is carefully designed with each particular client in mind and can be clearly tied to at least one of the client’s treatment goals. These interventions are also documented as part of the client’s record.

At Animal Assisted Therapy Programs of Colorado each of our counselors and therapists has earned at least a Master’s degree in their respective professional field, as well as completed post-graduate training and supervision in Animal Assisted Psychotherapy. Additionally, each of our therapist-dog teams are Certified through Professional Therapy Dogs of Colorado, one of the only organizations geared specifically for professionals in the mental health field and their therapy animals.

For some clients, all that is needed is to have an animal present in the room for them to feel calmer and more open. This can be true for adults, couples and families, as well as with children and seniors. In addition to their presence, animals can be integrated to develop specific interventions, aimed at meeting pre-determined therapeutic goals.

Here is an example

John has difficulty with peer relationships and sometimes gets aggressive when he is frustrated or angry. In therapy John’s therapist shows him how to teach Sasha a new trick - how to shake. In addition to other play with Sasha they will work with Sasha on this trick for several weeks. Through teaching Sasha how to shake John learns many skills: goal setting, how to manage frustration, how to stay calm, how to use a calm and assertive voice, how to read Sasha's body language, how to praise Sasha (and himself) for positive changes. John has had fun "working" in session and while helping Sasha he has learned several skills that can then be applied to his own behavior and relationships.


To learn more about how one of our Professional Therapy Teams can help, or to schedule a consultation, you can contact us at: 720-266-4444, or send us a confidential email. We look forward to working with you.


*Scope of Experience refers to those areas within counseling that the Counselor or Therapist has gained experience in as part of their professional training. An example includes working with trauma, or ADHD. Not all counselors are trained or have experience working in all areas. AAT is considered a specialty that requires both post-graduate training and experience. Scope of Practice refers to those areas within counseling that are the Counselor or Therapist has received training for as part of their professional license. For example, at Animal Assisted Therapy Programs of Colorado we have Licensed Marriage, Family Therapists and Licensed Professional Counselors. The individuals holding these professional licenses have been educated and trained for a different focus.

Barking C.A.A.T. Ranch
(Center for Animal Assisted Therapy)
7275 Kipling Street
Arvada, CO 80005
P 720-266-4444
F 720-266-4444

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