Dr. Taylor Chastain Griffin saw a need for further research in Animal-Assisted Interventions and jumped right in.
In this 54th episode of Therapy Dog Talk, I spoke with Dr. Taylor Chastain Griffin, a mental health professional and leader in the field of Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAI). Taylor shares her journey of combining her love for people and animals into a fulfilling career, and her passion for standardizing AAI through research and collaboration.
We discuss Taylor’s roles as Executive Director at the Association of Association of Animal Assisted Intervention Professionals (AAAIP) and National Director of Animal-Assisted Intervention Advancement at Pet Partners, as well as her experiences working with therapy animals. Taylor highlights the importance of understanding your therapy animal’s body language and finding the right fit for each situation.
Throughout our conversation, we touch on valuable resources for those interested in AAI, such as Standards of Practice in Animal-Assisted Interventions (AAI), and the Pet Partners’ Human Animal Bond Advisory Board. Taylor also provides advice for professionals looking to incorporate therapy animals into their work, emphasizing the need to focus on their own vocation first.
By the end of this episode, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the world of AAI and the incredible impact it can have on both people and animals. If you’re curious about pursuing a career in AAI, Taylor’s insights and expertise will be a valuable resource to help guide your journey.
In this episode, we discuss …
- How Taylor began her career as a dog trainer before becoming a mental health professional.
- Why she decided to contribute to AAI research and standardization.
- What you should look for in selecting a therapy animal organization.
Key moments you won’t want to miss:
- [01:46] Taylor has nine dogs and three cats, and we bond over my being a “foster fail” enabler.
- [03:12] Taylor discovered animal-assisted interventions (AAI) in mental health counseling while trying to combine her love for people and animals.
- [03:46] Taylor pursued her doctorate to help standardize AAI through research, seeing its great potential.
- [05:37] Working with animals encourages Taylor to be a better human, as they act as emotional thermometers for others.
- [07:06] We discuss Taylor’s roles at Pet Partners and AAAIP, focusing on AAI research and standardization.
- [09:49] Taylor highlights the importance of reading your therapy animal’s body language and finding a good fit.
- [10:20] Taylor explains the differences between Pet Partners and AAAIP, addressing professional AAI needs like insurance, certification, and continuing education.
- [12:43] I share my positive experience attending AAAIP expert calls, emphasizing the value of standardization in AAI.
- [17:08] Taylor advises on selecting a therapy animal organization and points to TherapyAnimalStandards.org as a resource.
- [19:43] Taylor mentions Pet Partners’ Human Animal Bond Advisory Board and AAAIP members as resources for finding AAI experts.
I hope you enjoy this episode as much as I do. Give it a watch or a listen and then let me know in the community which part you found the most helpful!
Mentioned in this episode:
- Association of Animal-Assisted Intervention Professionals (AAAIP)
- Dr. Aubrey Fine
- Dr. Gina Caldwell
- Dr. Leslie Stewart
- Maggie & Nicole volunteer with AAT Practitioners
- Pet Partners
- Standards of Practice in Animal-Assisted Interventions
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