Animal Assisted Counseling of Colorado

Emily is currently in the masters of social work program at the University of Denver concentrating on children and youth, as well as the Equine Assisted Mental Health Practitioner certification through the Institute of Human-Animal Connection at DU. She has had horses her entire life and has personally experienced the healing powers that come from spending time with them. She strongly believes that traditional talk therapy is not for everybody and experiential therapies, especially with animals, can be a powerful form of therapy. She is a certified riding instructor through the Certified Horsemanship Associate and has 25 years of horse experience. 
Prior to interning at AACOC Emily worked with different non-profits; one supported people experiencing homelessness and the other took horses to the homes of children with cancer. Some of the forms of therapy Emily subscribes to are mindfulness, emotion regulation, and using a trauma informed, strengths-based lens. 
Emily spends a lot of her time with her family and rescue animals; beagle (Lula Mae), cat (Radley), and horse (Gatsby). She has recently starting climbing and loves doing any activity outside. Emily is thrilled to be interning at AACOC and is looking forward to the coming year.


Carmen is an MSW candidate at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work concentrating in Mental Health. She is also a candidate in the Animal-Assisted Social Work Certificate Program through the Institute for Human Animal Connection at DU. Her area of interest involves researching the human-animal bond, and how animals can help children and youth struggling with learning and social-emotional development. She has experience training miniature horses and dogs to become service animals, and has worked with therapy dogs, horses, and donkeys. Carmen is currently working as a research assistant for the Institute for Human Animal Connection, primarily focusing on the Institute’s Green Chimneys documentation project, studying the efficacy of animal-assisted interventions with children with severe learning and behavioral problems. In her work with the Institute, she also participated in an ethics Think Tank surrounding the ethical implications of research for creating non-surgical contraceptive methods to be tested and used on feral cat and dog populations. In her free time, Carmen enjoys hiking with her two dogs, Minerva and Cerberus; hanging out with her gecko, Invader Zim and her guinea pig, Wiley; horseback riding; camping; traveling; and dancing. 


Christine is currently enrolled in her concentration year as a Master of Social Work candidate at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social work with a focus on Mental Health. Christine is also earning her certificate in Animal Assisted Social Work through the Institute of Human Animal Connection.  Christine received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Sociology from the University of Denver in 2015 and applies a sociological lens to her current practices.  Christine has worked as a Veterinary Assistant for Banfield Pet Hospital for over two years and hopes to expand her medical knowledge surrounding animals into learning more about animal behavior and Animal Assisted Interventions. Christine’s interests involve working with children and adolescent populations and how Animal Assisted Counseling can be used in conjunction with evidence based practices.  Christine will also be participating in the Animal Companionship Program through Gilliam Youth Services Center. Christine hopes to learn more clinical skills and theories that she can apply to Animal Assisted Therapy. Christine’s hobbies in her free time include hiking, creating art, practicing yoga, cooking, and playing with her two cats, Ziggy and Nala, and her dog Samantha.