These last few days, while helping a person to attend therapy, I was able to learn a little more about assisted therapy, for me excellent in the first place, the way in which animals can collaborate with humans and benefit is further proof that animals have a unique healing power over us, and that dependence always ends up winning in all cases.
The therapies and intervention assisted with animals have experienced a great increase by professionals, both dogs, horses and some farm animals, end up becoming companion animals, forming a synergistic relationship with a person, in recent years has been shown to have greater effectiveness in occupational therapy, helping in an incredible way in the skills and abilities of people, how? helping in favor of a better integration into society.
For many years, animals and humans have lived together, even unintentionally, we have lived with different kinds of animals. However, their interactions and the quality of these interactions have evolved over time, mainly due to biological, psychological and socio-cultural factors. As a result, the relationships between them have become increasingly complex, moving from primary, purely trophic needs to more elaborate forms with psychological or emotional implications.
Today, as everyone knows, the multiple physical, social and mental benefits of interactions and environments facilitated by animals are indisputable. In fact, these were already present in therapeutic contexts, long before documented scientific evidence was available.
In this sense, one of the areas where the efficacy of animal-assisted intervention is most proven is in occupational therapy because, thanks to it, the professional can find new formulas to achieve the maximum functionality of the people he or she works with.
So, knowing that animals can be of great help to humans, we will ask ourselves, what is an animal-assisted intervention?
Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) involve the participation of animals in therapeutic or educational interventions with the aim of improving health or education and human welfare.
AAI are programmes designed to promote physical, social, emotional, educational or cognitive improvements in the person; directed, developed and evaluated by a health or education professional.
On the other hand, it is also good to know what kind of animals are suitable for this?
Nowadays we work with different kinds of animals: dogs, horses, dolphins, cats, parrots, rabbits, etc. Each animal has its own characteristics that we must take into account when choosing which animal we are going to work with in each project. I personally like to work with dogs, as they are animals that are perfectly integrated into society and are of a size that facilitates access to the centres.
For those people who think about whether it is with a particular breed?
There is no specific breed of dog for therapy; we select very sociable dogs, that like contact with people, with a very balanced character, that do not show aggression in any situation, with good motivation and willingness to please and with an appearance that inspires confidence. Among the breeds, the most commonly used are Golden and Labrador Retriever and, as a small dog, the Cavalier King Charles.
Now that we know the benefits of animals and that it does not depend on any specific breed, we ask ourselves the question: What kind of interventions can an animal participate in?
An animal can participate in therapy sessions - physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, psychology, etc. - directed by a health professional; in education sessions, directed in this case by an education professional; and animal-assisted activities, which do not contemplate defined objectives for each session and which include a more spontaneous and playful content, but which provide us with an opportunity to improve the quality of life of a person, providing motivational and recreational benefits.
The presence of the animal creates a more relaxed and relaxed therapeutic or educational environment. The animal makes the patient feel more comfortable and this facilitates the relationship with the therapist. It has been proven that animals facilitate social relations between people. They are also a multisensory stimulus, it is pleasant to pet them and their graces make us smile.
We share this very touching photo with the intention of informing you how contact with animals helps.
We see it every day when people come for treatment and book therapeutic and family activities to improve anxiety, stress, bonding and much more.
Marion (24), who has metastatic cancer son Ethan (7) in the presence of Peyo, a horse used in animal-assisted therapy, in the animal-assisted therapy at the Palliative Care Unit Séléne Palliative Care Unit at the Centre Hospitalier de Calais, in Calais, France. Animal-assisted therapy, also known as pet therapy, is used in many clinical settings, especially in psychological therapy and palliative care. Animals seem to be able to reduce anxiety and stress, and also have physical effects, such as lowering blood pressure, improving heart rate or helping to control pain. In hospice, the aim is to use the natural bond between humans and animals to provide comfort humans and animals to provide comfort, peace and companionship to terminally ill patients. terminally ill patients. The horses seem particularly suitable for palliative care palliative care, as they are they are particularly attuned to their environment. Peyo works with his trainer Hassen Hassen Bouchakou at Les Sabots du Coeur, an organisation dedicated to animal-assisted therapy animal-assisted therapy and scientific research on the subject. It supports about 20 patients each month, and scientists are now studying its instinctive ability to detect cancers and tumours. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)
In short, animals manage to capture the attention of patients, they are a topic of conversation and are highly motivating, achieving the objectives more quickly and, above all, in a more pleasant way.