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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Counselilng Emotionally Disturbed Children with Pet Therapy

Darline Hunter.

Emotionally disturbed children feel disconnected from peers, family, school, society, and themselves. Feeling different and being different makes it difficult to fit into society. Being lost or ungrounded emotionally is as frightening and miserable as literally being geographically lost and unable to find their way home--especially when home is not a welcoming and safe place due to the havoc created by their disturbed behavior. Even when home is a safe and welcoming place, the chaos on a child's head can disallow a feeling of connectedness and comfort significant others are trying to create for them. This paper examines the need for addressing the spiritual needs of emotionally disturbed children and the benefits of including this dimension in the counseling treatment plan. The use of pet therapy, nature, and the therapeutic relationship are discussed as techniques for increasing a sense of "connectedness" for the child. This sense of connectedness has the potential for decreasing problematic behaviors often displayed by emotionally disturbed children.


Darline Hunter  (United States)
Assistant Professor
School of Education
University of Houston,Clear Lake

Dr Hunter is a counseling psychologist and assistant professor of counselor education at University of Houston, Clear Lake, Texas
Her research interests are in the counseling areas of spirituality, emotionally disturbed children, multicultural and pet therapy

  • Counseling
  • Spirituality
  • Emotionally disturbed
  • Pet Therapy

(Virtual Presentation, English)