Transforming Trauma Episode 099: Enhancing our Well-Being Through the Human-Animal Connection with Philip Tedeschi
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In this episode of Transforming Trauma, Emily is joined by Philip Tedeschi, clinical professor and Founder of the Institute for Human-Animal Connection where he studies and teaches about the intricate relationship between people, domestic and wild animals, and the natural world. His focus in bio-affiliation – our connection to the living world – has led Philip to be globally recognized for expertise in the clinical methods of animal-assisted interventions, as well as human-animal interaction and conflict.
When reflecting on how he got into this niche field, Philip shares how his path originally started in the veterinary field with a passion for animals. There was a unique opportunity where he was asked to teach a group of schizophrenic people to ride horses. His observations of the impact the horses were having on the group and vice versa created a lightbulb moment where he realized he was more interested in the dynamic relationship between an animal and human, rather than strictly animal medicine. Philip is grateful to his alma mater, University of Wisconsin-Madison, for the opportunity to create a self-designed major that focused on bio-affiliation, which eventually led him to the field of social work and the work he’s doing today.
Through his research on the human-animal connection, Philip has been able to make some incredible discoveries on how that connection happens and what happens (both positively and negatively) as that connection develops. He shares about the non-verbal relationship humans have with animals, particularly their companion animals. He also shares an important takeaway from his book, Transforming Trauma: Resilience and Healing Through Our Connection with Animals, which is that the well-being of the animal in our immediate environment has impact on our own personal neurobiology – it changes our brain chemistry and improves our ability to get well. Philips research also takes this further by considering animals that are not in our immediate environments – everything from wildlife, to farm animals, to animals that humans never see – and how we are still intricately connected through our environment.
At the Institute for Human-Animal Connection, he focuses on applying his research by teaching helping professionals about human-animal-environment interactions as well as how to incorporate animals in a safe, ethical, and humane way to the clinical space.
We are grateful to Philip for sharing about the contributions that animals make to our health and well-being. We invite you to listen to the full episode to learn more about this unique connection.
Philip Tedeschi is the Director Emeritus and Founder of the Institute for Human-Animal Connection and a clinical professor at the Graduate School of Social Work and an affiliated faculty with the University of Denver’s Animal Law Program. He teaches in the Human- Animal-Environmental Interaction Certificate for Master of Social Work students, examining the intricate relationship between people, domestic and wild animals, and the natural world. Tedeschi’s research, scholarship, teaching and community practice work have focused on issues of social and interspecies justice, global perspectives of human-animal interactions, conservation social work and human ecology.
Book – Transforming Trauma: Resilience and Healing Through Our Connections with Animals
Website – Institute for Human-Animal Connection
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