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I want to pursue courses in animal-assisted therapy

Career coach Sanjay Arora replies to readers' queries

I want to pursue courses in animal-assisted therapy

Q I have done under-graduation in Psychology Honours from Panjab University. I am going for further studies to Canada. Should I opt for courses in animal-assisted therapy or first complete post-graduation in clinical psychology?

Yatri Buch, Jalandhar

A With scientifically proven advantages for mental and physical health, animal-assisted therapy is gradually gaining popularity all over the world as a complementary therapy/alternative therapy. There have been constant efforts through research to transform this therapy into a mainstream one.

If you want to pursue a career as an animal-assisted therapist, you may do so by attending a certificate course, a part-time or a full-time programme. You can also seek an online courses. When you apply for a programme, make sure to examine the organisation's credentials well.

To practice any form of psychotherapy, having a background in psychology or medicine can prove highly beneficial as it deals with a range of mental and neurological-related illnesses.

You need not be a psychologist to become an animal-assisted therapist. However, earning a certificate in therapy will not make you a psychologist unless you already are one. Generally, you require a higher education qualification in psychology to call yourself a psychologist.

On the other hand, you will be addressed as a psychologist if you pursue your master's in clinical or any other field of psychology, for that matter. Clinical psychology is one of the most respected fields of psychology.

Therefore, having a postgraduate degree (called Graduation in Canada) in Clinical Psychology and then opting for animal-assisted therapy can make your profile appear much stronger.

 Sanjay Arora is Chief Mentor and CEO, Maven Career Coaching.

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