AAPI Animal Assisted Psychotherapy / Animal Assisted Learning
Practitioner Training & Certification


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Our Institute is an IAHAIO Accredited Training Organisation

Animal therapy dog and boy


Demand is increasing for ethical and professional animal assisted psychotherapy (AAP) and animal assisted learning (AAL) practitioners. The word is spreading about the power of  animal therapy, and people are looking for skillful animal assisted psychotherapists.

Animal therapy certification is an innovative way to support social-emotional learning, facilitate personal development, deliver coaching and complementary therapies.

Are you ready to provide skillful, ethical and professional AAP and AAL services to your clients?

Who is this Practitioner Training Designed for?

Are you passionate about Animals and how they support learning, growth, change and healing?

Are you a Psychologist looking to include animal therapy into your psychological services?

Are you a Social Worker looking to support more difficult to reach clients effectively?

Are you a Counsellor or Psychotherapist passionate about change for clients, and deeply connected to animals?

Are you a Teacher, Educator, Coach, Youth worker, Animal Specialist/trainer or Complementary therapist looking to offer innovative services with the power of the human-animal bond?

This animal assisted Training and Certification Program is designed especially for you

What We Teach

Animal Assisted Psychotherapy students

learn to be experiential psychotherapists and practice psychotherapy…with animals. This requires very specialist understanding of psychotherapy theory, knowledge, skill and methodology. We teach you our AAPI model of psychotherapy, including unique theory of change, psychotherapy theory, principles and methodology to support you to offer effective psychotherapy with children and adults.

Animal Assisted Learning students

learn about the power of relationally-based experiential learning to foster engagement, growth and learning…with animals. This requires very specialist knowledge, skill and application. We teach you our AAPI model of experiential learning, and the principles, theory and practice skills you need to offer animal assisted education, animal assisted activities, animal assisted learning (including personal development, and social emotional learning).

AAPI Training features Horses, Cats, Dogs and Rabbits

Giving you diversity in your training experience to learn and apply animal therapy (AAP & AAL) with different species, in indoor and outdoor settings, and, to explore environmental enrichment for different animals.

Animal Therapy Dog
Animal Therapy Rabbit
Animal assisted therapy cat
animal therapy horse

Specialise with Your Species of Choice

Students can specialise their animal therapy practice in training discussions and projects with a variety of other animals including goats, cows, sheep, pigs, guinea pigs, mice, rats or chickens.

girl and animal therapy dog
animal therapy horse and girl
animal assited therapist

The Course

  • 15 days (120 hours) On-site
  • 3 – 5 Day Intensives

Training Dates – currently postponed/under review

  • Intensive 1 Sept 7 – 11, 2020
  • Intensive 2 Oct 5 – 9, 2020
  • Intensive 3 Nov 2 – 6, 2020

Venue 459 Telegraph Rd, Mt Prospect (Daylesford area), Victoria, Australia

Training Fees $1500 AU plus gst per 5 Day Intensive (Upfront payment – $4200 plus gst)

Certification Requirements post training, you will be supported to submit – an Integration Paper (1000 word reflection paper) after each Intensive, Open Book exam at completion of intensives, animal-based project and short video, and, attend five online ( 1 hour) supervision sessions over duration of training (within 12 month period). Supervision are invoiced seperately, after session ($120 AU plus gst )

Language English – students need to have fluency in english for training and submission of assessment material.

Core Curriculum Learning Areas / Description

  • Introduction to AAP and AAL
  • Animals and the Human-Animal Bond
  • Psychotherapy
  • AAP Introduction and AAPI Theory
  • AAP/ AAL Environment and Setting
  • AAP / AAL Practice and Interventions
  • Trauma, Neuroscience and AAP/ AAL
  • Ethics
  • Business
  • Program Evaluation

AAPI Core Curriculum Areas


Introduction to AAP and AAL

Objectives of AAP
Scope of Practice,
Unique Benefits to Practitioner
Overview of Role of Animals in experiential psychotherapy or learning context


Animals and the Human-Animal Bond

Zoology, Ethology & Animal Behaviour
Human –Animal Bond
Unique Contribution of each Animal/ Species in AAP/ AAL
Focus on Dogs, Cats, Rabbits, Horses in Training Program
Opportunity to specialise (with other animals) in reflection paper and practice/supervision
Animals Setting and Enrichment
domestic and wild animals
Animal Selection, Temperament and Behaviour
Safety with Animals
Animal Care and Animal Welfare
Animal Training issues
Veterinary Care
Risk Management- strategy to minimise risks to the animal



What is Psychotherapy?
Current Psychotherapy Approaches relevant to AAP
Psychotherapist Competencies and Skills, Personal Qualities that apply to AAP


AAP Introduction and AAPI Theory

What is AAP / AAL and Why AAP/ AAL?
Unique Benefits and Change Agents
Neuroscience of AAP
AAPI Model including integration of Psychotherapeutic Approaches – Gestalt Therapy, Psychodynamic, Play Therapy, Somatic Psychotherapy and Somatic Experiencing
Psychoeducational interventions in AAP and AAL


AAP/AAL Environment and Setting

Indoor practice
Outdoor practice
Natural Settings
Therapy Zoos
AAP/AAL at Zoos/Wildlife parks
Animals dictate the setting
human preference


AAP/ AAL Practice Intervention

AAP Practice – Overview (AAPI) Facilitation Process
Therapeutic Triad Relationship (system of relationships)
Gestalt, Psychodynamic and Play Therapy practice
Animals Lived Experience, Temperament and Behaviour as Intervention
Ethics as Intervention
Client Directed and Practitioner-led approaches
Diagnosis & AAP Interventions
Animal-Specific Interventions
Field Assessment and Intervention Lens
Here and Now Assessment
Treatment Planning- Presenting Issues, Therapeutic Goals, Intervention
Practitioner Skills- professional and personal- AAP and AAL
AAP with Special Populations
Structured Programs and Unstructured/ therapeutic practice
Working with Children- unique interventions and practice skills
Working with Adults – unique interventions and practice skills


Trauma, Neuroscience and AAP/AAL

Introduction Trauma and AAP
Understanding Trauma – PTSD and Complex Trauma
Developmental Trauma in Children
Neuroscience of AAP



Professional Issues
Client Safety
Animal Safety, Consent, Care and Welfare
Balancing Health & Welfare of both Clients & Animals
One Health, One Welfare
Legal Issues
AAPI Code of Ethics/ Code of Conduct



Business Plan
Insurance, Client Consent & Waiver
Risk Management
Documentation and Case Notes
Promotion and Marketing


Program Evaluation

Evaluation Tools
Researching your AAP/ AAL

Overview of Certification Requirements

Successful completion of all Intensives (20 days)
4 Reflection Paper
5 Supervision (Online) Sessions
Exam (Open Book)
Submission Animal Behaviour Report and Handling Video
Compliance to AAPI Code of Ethics

Continuing Professional Development

10 hours per annum of relevant training, studies, supervision, and other CPD activities that are directly relevant to AAP or AAL practice

AAPI Member Benefits

Advertising on our Practitioners Listing
Access to Closed Facebook Group
Access to ongoing CPD
Access to Supervision (AASW, APS)
Access to sister Institute – The Equine Psychotherapy Institute and range of CPD opportunities, including trainings, conferences, advanced trainings, community of practitioners

Further enquiries or questions are welcome. Please contact the Equine-Psychotherapy Institute on:

Mobile – 0437 882 600
Email – admin@animalassistedpsychotherapy.net