PSCSW Clinical Book Discussion Program Presents The Use of Attachment with an Animal as a Path to Recovery from Depression

PSCSW Clinical Book Discussion Program


The Use of Attachment with an Animal as a Path to Recovery from Depression

The Book: Dog Medicine:  How My Dog Saved Me from Myself by Julie Barton

Clinical Title: The Use of Attachment with an Animal as a Path to Recovery from Depression.

Facilitator: Marta Zehner, MSS, LCSW, BCD

Date: October 30, 2021

Time: 10:00-1:00 || 3 CEUs

Place: Zoom Online Meeting: Link will be sent after registration

About The Book:

This true story demonstrates that there may be many paths to recovery and that the patient can discover that path on their own. This is a story of “the anguish of depression, the slow path to recovery, the beauty of forgiveness and the astonishing ways animals can help heal even the most broken hearts and minds.”

This book opens on the life of Julie, a young woman raised in the mid-west. She has recently graduated college and is now trying to make her way in New York City. Julie has just broken up with her boyfriend and is experiencing her first major depression.  Her ability to communicate the debilitating physical and emotional experience of her depression puts the reader in her place, experiencing it along with her, sinking deeper into her depression. Returning to her parents’ home, she finds herself unable to find the energy or motivation to participate in life. Julie begins to identify how her past may be contributing to her current experience, and eventually makes the decision to get a puppy. Her story unfolds as she and her puppy, “Bunker,” teach each other about life, companionship and love.

As social workers we are challenged to feel, look and listen deeply and closely to our clients. In this endeavor we discover along with our client what brings energy, hope and meaning to their lives.

Clinical Objectives:

By reading this book and participating in the discussion, participants will:

  1. Explore the issues of childhood experiences and how time and place may contribute to depression.
  2. Discuss the use of a client’s relationship with a pet in the therapeutic process.
  3. Examine overall family dynamics and denial.
  4. Identify how clinicians can help a clients to find meaning in living though pain.

About The Facilitator:

Ms. Zehner, MSS, LCSW received her Master’s degree from the Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work in 1969.   She has a certificate from both The Gestalt Therapy Institute of Philadelphia, The Pennsylvania Gestalt Institute as well as certificates in Motivational Interviewing and Animal Assisted Therapy. Some of the settings Marta has worked in over the years, include Eastern Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, Northeast Community Mental Health Center, Family Service, Women Organized Against Rape, (specializing in child sexual abuse), Women Against Abuse, Women’s Community Revitalization Project and the Medical College of Pa where she was Director of the Alcoholism Training Program.

Marta has had a private Practice since 1972 where she incorporates animal assisted therapy whenever appropriate.  As part of Marta’s practice, she has also provided consultation to several non-profit organizations and has taught at both the Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Social Policy and Practice.

Marta is a founding member of The Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work.  Currently, she maintains a part time clinical practice and works part time for Women’s Community Revitalization Project.

This event is open to PSCSW members only.

Participants who attend this program must be present for its entirety in order to get continuing education credits.

Cancellation Policy: There is a $5 non-refundable administrative fee for any cancellation up to 48 hours prior to this program. No refund will be issued if less than 48 hours’ notice is given for this program.

Continuing Education Credits:

FOR PENNSYLVANIA SOCIAL WORKERS, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS, AND PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS: This program is approved for credits for professional workshops sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work, a state affiliate of the Clinical Social Work Association listed in Section 47.36 of Title 49, Chapter 47 of the PA Code, State Board of Social Work Examiners. This program is also approved for 3 credits for professional workshops for marriage & family therapists (Section 48.36) and professional counselors (Section 49.36).


FOR NEW JERSEY SOCIAL WORKERS: This program is approved for 3 clinical credits. Attendance at programs or courses given at state and national social work association conferences, where the criteria for membership is an academic degree in social work, are a valid source of continuing education clinical credit (N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.4(c)4).


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  • October 30, 2021
    10:00 am - 1:00 pm
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