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Elizabeth Kjellstrand Hartwig

Elizabeth Kjellstrand Hartwig

Elizabeth Kjellstrand Hartwig is an Assistant Professor in the Professional Counseling Program at Texas State University. She teaches marriage and family therapy, play therapy, working with teens, and animal-assisted counseling. She is the Director of the Marriage, Couple, and Family Counseling track. Dr. Hartwig is also a member of the Institute for Play Therapy faculty team.

AAC Academy logo

In 2016, she developed the Texas State University Animal-Assisted Counseling (AAC) Academy. The AAC Academy is a professional training program that promotes the human-animal bond through the study and practice of animal-assisted counseling. The AAC Academy offers a series of three intensive trainings for graduate students and professionals to earn introductory and advanced training in animal-assisted counseling. 


Dr. Hartwig pioneered the first involvement of therapy dogs on the Texas State University campus for teaching and research through a study on canine-assisted therapy with adolescents in the 2014-2015 school year. This study produced an article: Hartwig, E. K. (2017). Building solutions in youth: Evaluation of the Human-Animal Resilience Therapy intervention in the Journal of Creativity in Mental Health. She has also co-written an article called Practitioner Perspectives of Animal-Assisted Counseling, which is published in the Journal of Mental Health Counseling. Her current research interest is in developing standards in AAC. 

In addition to her research, she has presented at local, state, national and international conferences. Here are some of her recent or upcoming presentations:

  • There's a Dog in My Session: Practitioner Perspectives in Animal-Assisted Counseling, International Society for Anthrozoology (ISAZ), Sydney, Australia, 2018
  • Play Therapy with Teens and Tweens, Association for Play Therapy (APT), Minneapolis, MN, 2017
  • A Systematic Review of Online Canine-Assisted Therapy Program Screening Tools, ISAZ, Davis, CA, 2017
  • Enhancing the Evidence Base of Canine-Assisted Therapy Research, International Association for Human Animal Interaction Organizations (IAHAIO) Conference, Paris, France 2016 
  • Canine-Assisted Play Therapy: Hope and Healing with Kids and Canines, APT) Atlanta, GA, 2015
Pawsitive Family Counseling logo

Dr. Hartwig serves as a Pet Partners Therapy Animal Team Evaluator and is volunteer team with her animal partner, Ruggles. She also has a private practice in which she works with Ruggles in New Braunfels, TX called Pawsitive Family Counseling, LLC.

E-mail: ekk6@txstate.edu 
Office Phone: (512) 245-3757

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