Child Abuse and Domestic Violence Prevention - Long Beach, CA

End Abuse Long Beach
Since 1975

CAMFT Approved Continuing Education Provider

September 11 Program Agenda

"Using the k9 Connection:
How At-Risk Teens and Homeless Dogs Can Heal Each Other"

Jessica K.Thomas,Psy.D., and Pat Sinclair, J.D., MSW


Thursday, September 11, 2014


8:00 - 8:20 a.m. Networking & Introductions
8:25 - 9:30 a.m. - Program


Alpert Jewish Community Center, Senior Room
3801 E. Willow St, Long Beach, CA 90815

EALB will provide 1 CEU to MFTs/LCSWs in attendance (free to EALB members, $10 for non-members).
Approval No. PCE 4131

Jessica K. ThomasJessica Thomas, Psy.D. completed her doctoral coursework in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in child and adolescent psychology at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles. She currently holds a Master’s degree from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, a Bachelor’s degree from Marymount University and a certificate in Animal Assisted Therapy from the University of North Texas. Her work with youth began in 2008 and continues to be fueled by her enthusiasm to encourage recovery and foster resilience in the youth many clinicians’ struggle to work with. She recently completed her pre-doctoral internship with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health, in the Enhanced Specialized Foster Care Unit and has previously provided intensive counseling services for youth classified as habitual re-offenders, provided group counseling services for at-risk youth through a Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department diversion program and worked with underserved families and children in community and outpatient settings.

Jessica is passionate about not only counseling trauma affected youth but also in seeking out more proactive interventions in an effort to prevent the escalation of those youth, into the criminal justice system. This motivation led her to conduct her dissertation research on the use of Human Animal Interaction as an intervention with at-risk youth to foster emotional growth and reduce antisocial cognitions – the results of which have been so significant, she recently presented her findings at the 2014 American Psychological Association Convention in Washington, DC.

Pat Sinclaire, J.D., MSWPat Sinclair, J.D., MSW, is a Founder/Director of k9 connection, a Santa Monica based non-profit project founded in 2004. The program is designed to inspire and foster resilience in at-risk teens, ages 14-19, through linking the teens with dogs rescued from Los Angeles area shelters - the teens training the dogs, and the dogs providing unconditional love. She holds a Juris Doctor degree in Law from UCLA Law School and a Master's Degree in Social Work, from the UCLA School of Social Welfare. Her interest in at-risk youth began as early as 1968 when she was a volunteer tutor/counselor working with middle school age boys at Los Angeles Juvenile Hall in Sylmar, CA.

Over the years she did both volunteer and professional work with a number of vulnerable populations. In 2003, volunteering for a humane education program which worked with shelter dogs and middle school students, she and another volunteer, Katherine Beattie, were amazed by the transformational aspect of even a short term pairing of the students with homeless dogs, and the two decided to start a program taking advantage of the human/animal bond. The program remains a laboratory-type program with ongoing development of curriculum and alumni outreach. Through online and Skype coaching, she helped start a k9 connection-type program in Cape Town, South Africa. She and her co-founder have authored a start-up manual which is available, along with free consulting, to people around the world who want to start similar programs in their own communities.

Teens at greatest risk for poorer life outcomes, including becoming victims and/or perpetrators of crime, can lack the emotional tools necessary for healthy interpersonal and intrapersonal functioning. Typically learned through healthy attachments in childhood, these skills may influence how a teen views themselves, thinks about the world and emotionally relates to others. In this workshop participants will learn about the use of Human Animal Interaction (HAI) as an intervention to proactively address the specific socio-emotional needs of these at-risk teens.
Participants will hear about outcomes from research conducted by the speaker, which identified significant improvements in measured emotional intelligence and empathy as well as a significant decrease in antisocial cognitive distortions for the at-risk teens who participated in a brief HAI program, k9 Connection. Participants will also have an opportunity to learn about the k9 Connection program, a non-profit organization that pairs at-risk teens with shelter dogs, as well as consider implications for application of the positive findings to similar vulnerable and at-risk youth populations worldwide.

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Opinions expressed are those of the speaker and not necessarily those of the Council and its membership.
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