Frequently Asked Questions

CCAATA was founded by a shared passion for utilizing the therapeutic power of animals to help children and adolescents cultivate positive mental health outcomes. As a group of like-minded professionals who specialize in both children’s mental health and Animal-Assisted Therapy, we had a common vision for creating a training program that focuses on developmentally appropriate, evidence-based strategies that cultivate wellness in children and adoelscents.

Animals are viewed as partners, assistants, and co-facilitators in the therapeutic process. Animals are sentient beings with their own unique temperaments and emotional experiences; they are not viewed as tools in which the practitioner “uses” to meet certain objectives. CCAATA believes that the animal’s welfare and safety is equally important to the humans involved.

We work primarily with psychologists, counselors, social workers, teachers, occupational therapists, education assistants, nurses/psychiatric nurses, psychiatrists, and speech pathologists. Other professions with a strong background and post-secondary education in child development and psychology will be considered. Students training in their respective fields will also be accepted into the program.

There are many reasons to join CCAATA, whether or not you decide to pursue full certification. You will be joining a community of like-minded practitioners who can support and encourage each other, share ideas, and discuss challenges. You will have resources at your fingertips that will prepare you to deliver ethical services to children & adolescents with animal assistant(s) at your side.

The training you receive are with professionals in the field who share common core philosophies, have met high standards of professionalism and expertise, and are committed to the well-being and health of the profession and all those within it.

By certifying with an accredited program (trainings recognized by the Canadian Counsellling & Psychotherapy Association) you will have access to a nationally recognized certification that will allow you to demonstrate to your clients, licensing bodies, lenders, and the general public that you have met an independently developed level of skills, experience, and knowledge in the field of Animal-Assisted Therapy and Wellness.  This will enhance your overall credibility in the field, and add immense value to your practice.

Certification can be completed in as little as two years, but there is no set time frame within which you must complete the certification process.

There are certain CCAATA trainings that you will need to attend to achieve full certification, but you will be given credit for other courses and education related to this field that you already have (including professional hours). Certification candidates will be asked to submit a portfolio of their education and experience when they apply to enter the certification process.

CCAATA is the only AAT certification program of its kind in Canada that is designed specifically for working with children and youth in terms of Animal-Assisted therapy and Wellness. CCAATA also works in partnership with the Institute of Child Psychology, which is an internationally recognized organization devoted to children’s mental health.

This depends on several factors including previous education, animal experience, and professional affiliation.