Animal Assisted Counseling of Colorado

Carri with her three canine co-therapists, Ranger, Noah, and Hope.

Carri King-Bussard MA, LPC

Carri earned her Master’s degree in Counseling from Webster University in Albuquerque, NM in 1998. She is currently a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the state of Colorado, earning her undergraduate degree in Science from Saint Mary’s College in Winona, MN in 1991. She earned a Certificate in Animals and Human Health: Animal Assisted Therapy and Learning from Denver University’s Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) in 2007, and is an adjunct professor in GSSW's Animal-Assisted Social Work certificate.

In 2006, Carri was recognized by 9NEWS and the Denver Post for her work in establishing the B.A.R.K. Program, a collaborative program between the Denver Dumb Friends League and the Mental Health Center of Denver to enhance youth's coping skills, empathy, and understanding of the humane treatment of animals. She also has written articles on animal-assisted therapy for the Rocky Mountain Dog Magazine and the American Mental Health Counselors Association. In 2016, Carri was interviewed by the Associated Press for her work with small mammals in therapy, and was also interviewed by the Aurora Sentinel about her private counseling practice. 

She has almost 25 years of clinical experience working within the systems of child protection/welfare, juvenile justice, mental health and the public school system. In her work, she has utilized the strength of the human-animal bond while working with a variety of people in a variety of settings. She has extensive experience working in the community with high-risk youth and their families. Carri is trained and utilizes evidenced based practices to include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Trauma Focused CBT, Motivational Interviewing and principals of Multi-Systemic Therapy. Carri is also trained in the Anicare-child treatment model that addresses the assessment and treatment of animal abuse. She also co-founded another business,
Professional Therapy Dogs of Colorado, in which she trains mental health professionals who are interested in integrating animal-assisted practice into their work.

She is the proud mother to three canines (Hope, Ranger, and Noah), four guinea pigs (Loaf, Newton, Wiley, and "Little Dude" Seuss), and two rats (Justice and Freedom).

Terri Learned, MSW, LCSW

Terri earned her undergraduate degree from Colorado College followed by a Masters Degree from the University of Denver School of Social Work. She has been a licensed clinical social worker for twenty years in the Denver metro area. Terri spent many years working and training at the Veteran's Administration Hospital.  While working at the VA, she had vast experience with individual, couples and families struggling with a variety of problems and issues.

Her clinical work is rooted in psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy but realizes that for some families, a more creative approach is helpful.  While she was managing a transitional housing program for homeless woman, she realized the therapeutic benefits of a dog interacting with clients.  The combination of the healing of others, love of dogs and exploring a more creative approach is why she began her training in Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT).  Her work shifted to working with children and adolescents in combination with AAT.

For the past few years, she has been trained and certified in Animal Assisted Therapy through the Institute for the Human-Animal Connection at the University of Denver.  Her co-therapist, Bizzy, has been certified through Pet Partners of Denver and Professional Therapy Dogs of Colorado.  Together, Terri and Bizzy have worked with many children helping with many treatment goals from resolving severe trauma in children to reducing and understanding anxiety issues.  It is a very magical watching the increased motivation of children who have the opportunity to work with animals.  Terri has also worked with clients and their own family pets in an effort to work on personal goals.  She is always eager to adapt the plan to the needs of individuals and their families.

Terri also brings expertise and training in stress reduction through Mindfulness Practice.  Her ultimate goal is to collaborate with clients and their families to identify struggles and develop paths to strengthen individual and family systems.  Since every child and family are unique, it is important to be creative with therapy and treatment to reach positive outcomes.

Terri has lived in Denver for over 30 years with her husband and two daughters.  They have had many dogs over the years but currently are the proud owners of three dogs; Bizzy, Leo and Nala.

Ashley Duncan, MSW, AASW

Ashley Duncan (she, her, hers) earned her Master’s degree in Social Work and certificate in Animal-Assisted Social Work from the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work, and also received her dual undergraduate degree in Psychology and Communication Studies from the University of Denver. She is passionate about providing compassionate care to adolescents, adults, partners, and families through a strengths-based, empowerment-focused approach to whole-self healing and wellness. Ashley prefers a creative, eclectic approach in her work with her clients, and draws from a variety of modalities, especially mindfulness-based cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Prior to her transition into the mental health field, Ashley worked for many years in animal care and advocacy. She also worked at a local service dog organization supporting their volunteer team, doing community outreach, and managing their social media presence. More recently, she worked at a drop in-center for LGBTIQ+ youth providing supporting services, and also worked in the university setting advocating for programmatic changes to services and policies supporting LGBTIQ+ communities on campus. 
Ashley's life is enriched by two canines (Lilah and Penelope Patches), two cats (Moose and Cleokatra), a hamster (Boo), and a Betta fish (Chomps). When she is not spending her free time with her furry friends, she is an avid reader and writer, photographer, and player of videogames.

Alex with Gallant

Ashley and her canine co-therapist, Lilah

Terri and her canine co-therapist, Bizzy

Animal Assisted Counseling of Colorado is also an internship placement site for University of Denver's Graduate School of Social Work MSW candidates. We enjoy working with these students year after year!

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