Resident and therapist views of animal-assisted therapy: Implications for occupational therapy practice


  • Beth P. Velde PhD, OTR/L; Associate Professor. Joseph Cipriani Ed.D., OTR/L; Professor. Grace Fisher Ed.D., OTR/L; Assistant Professor.

Beth P. Velde, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina USA. Email:


Animal-assisted therapy is offered in a wide variety of settings. The literature contains few studies investigating animal-assisted therapy from an occupational therapy perspective. More information is needed to describe the use of animals as a therapeutic modality in occupational therapy. Three qualitative case studies were analysed to describe the perceptions of clients and therapists regarding animal-assisted therapy. This analysis was synthesised with an extensive literature review to produce a perspective of animal-assisted therapy for occupational therapy. Animal-assisted therapy could be a beneficial modality for occupational therapy. The Lifestyle Performance Model provides a useful framework for analysis and interpretation of the positive outcomes of animal-assisted therapy in an occupational therapy context.