The Contribution of Animal Assisted Therapy
Animal assisted therapy involves the trio of patient-animal- therapist. The animal, which is the linking component, is characterized first and foremost by unconditional acceptance, offering a live and spontaneous reaction, a connection and direct contact.
Animal Assisted Therapy is a method that relies on the help of animals, for the purpose of improving the emotional, social, behavioral, physical and cognitive functions of patients.
The emotional aspect – Animal Assisted Therapy offers the experience of success, generating a contact and closeness, helping to deal with the emotions involved in the processes of life, improving self image and confidence.
The social aspect – This therapy enables the development of empathy, improving social interaction, generating a will to share knowledge and to listen, the ability to cooperate and improve relationships.
The behavioral aspect – This therapy supports understanding rules, and assists in establishing the ability to follow them. The treatment offers routines of safety, soothing, responsibility and perseverance.
The physical motor-rehabilitative aspect – This treatment develops body image, develops sensory perception, motor skills and coordination. For patients who are physically impaired, muscular activity for realistic purposes such as feeding animals, grooming and petting them, offers motivation and satisfaction. This is expressed in improved posture and balance, improved range of motion and general exercise of major muscles.
The cognitive aspect – It develops time-space perception, causal reasoning, acquaintance with the order and continuity of phenomena, increases the attention span and develops curiosity and motivation.