What is Canine Assisted Play Therapy?

Canine Assisted Play Therapy (CAPT) is a mental health intervention used for a wide range of child, adolescent, and family difficulties.  Canines are used to help treat anxiety, depression, behavior problems, trauma, maltreatment, attachment issues, relationship difficulties, and many other issues presented in therapy.   Research has proven that the use of canines in therapeutic settings by a trained professional help to reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure and raise levels of “feel good” hormones.  Canines can also help reduce resistance in clients.  In a play therapy setting they are also helpful in building competence and confidence, creating trust and attachment, developing empathy, improving emotional and behavioral self-regulation, and reducing social problems. 

A skilled Play Therapist will help a child generalize what they learn with dogs to humans. When a play therapist can show a child how to use patience, playfulness, empathy and positive training methods in creating closer relationships with a therapy dog, they can develop greater empathy for both animals and people in their lives.  Sometimes it is easier for a child with attachment issues or who has been abused to bond with an animal rather than a person. The relationship between a therapy dog and the therapist also helps that child to learn to trust that a therapist who is patient and kind with the dog will also be patient and kind with them, as well. 


Meet Gibbs the Theradoodle!

Gibbs is an award-winning one-year-old golden doodle who loves the water and swims everyday in the backyard pool. He's smart, sweet and loving with everyone. He earned his Canine Good Citizen at seven months and was a Registered Therapy Dog by 13 months.

Teri Holamon, LPC-S, RPT-S, CAAPT-S, CHST

707 West Avenue D • Garland, TX • 75040

(214) 315-9670 • info@teriholamon.com


  1. Canine Assisted Play Therapy