School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Sonya Heckler Cheyne


teletherapy, dog ownership, stress, pets, intervention, attachment, openness, therapy, single-case experimental design, SCED, human animal bond, HAB


Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The connection between humans and animals has led to practices such as animal-assisted therapy, equine therapy, service animals, and pet ownership. Strong bonds and attachments can form between pet owners and their pets. It is no wonder that owning a pet is commonplace in the United States. Many pet owners identify their pet as a member of their family. In addition to companionship, research has indicated that pet ownership can have health benefits, reduce stress, increase empathy, and facilitate openness. In a therapeutic setting, the presence of a pet may comfort its owner simply by being near them. The ease of including a pet in a therapy session has improved with technology and teletherapy sessions. Recently, psychotherapy delivery has changed for clients and therapists to include a more accepted use of teletherapy sessions. The increase in teletherapy use may become commonplace, but some people are uncomfortable with online therapy. Finding a way to help clients reduce their stress and increase their openness in session may be accomplished by a trusted companion accompanying them in their session. While the companion could be human, it was the owner's dog in this research. This single case experimental designed study examines a dog owner's teletherapy experience with and without their dog in session with them.

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