The basic goal of this chapter is to provide an appreciation of the importance of harmonizing the inner self and outer energy to encourage a state of balance and to stress the importance of attending to the outer environment as well as one's inner environment. It helps the reader to plan strategies suited to establishing a psychotherapy practice and examines elements of the physical environment conducive to psychotherapy. One of the key areas that is often overlooked when becoming a nurse psychotherapist is the specter of the work environment. Most, if not all, of the field of psychotherapy in the public (versus private) sector is currently occupied by other mental health professionals who are either social workers or professional counselors. The chapter discusses the fundamental requirements, boundaries, expectations, and the collegial relationship for becoming a nurse psychotherapist.
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Animal-assisted therapy is a goal-oriented, planned and structured therapeutic intervention directed and delivered by health, education and human service professionals. Key features of AAT are: specific goals and objectives are set for each patient, progress is measured, and interactions are documented. The goals are designed by a nurse, occupational therapist, physical therapist, counselor, physician, or other healthcare professional who uses AAT in treatment process. Research examining the use of animals as a complementary or alternative therapy is based on studies about pet ownership. AAT has been shown to be a successful intervention for patients of all ages with a variety of physical and psychological conditions. It can be provided in many settings, including private homes, acute care and rehabilitation facilities, long-term and group care homes, schools, and correctional facilities. The research investigating the impact of AAT on physical conditions has concentrated on cardiovascular disease, seizure disorders, dementia, and pain management.