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What are animal-assisted therapies And therapeutic Animal?

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The therapy animal is quite extensive and is known within Psychology as Animal-Assisted Therapy (TAA), which address 4 major areas such as the physical area, as patients move or move with the animals; the cognitive, because it works on strengthening of the memory in the patients; the emotional, because it allows the patient to become their emotions, and relational, as the animal works as a motivation to relate to others, and the environment.

What are animal-assisted therapies?

Some benefits of pet therapy and animal assisted intervention that I would like to highlight are the following:

  • They improve the communication and personal relationships of patients, by opening more to the experience of contact and affection.
  • They improve the mood and increase the self-esteem of the patient.
  • They decrease stress, anxiety, cognitive rumination and depression.
  • They increase the safety, sense of bond and peace of mind of patients.
  • ​Improve patients ‘ social-emotional skills.​
  • Improve patient mobility and physical well-being.
  • They improve the sense of self-care, care for the other and responsibility for others.
  • They help overcome emotional blockages, isolation, and fears.
  • They improve the attention levels, concentration of patients and their memory capacity.
  • They increase self-pity, lower expectations of others, and improve self-criticism and self-demand.
  • Pets are widely used as therapy animals in the elderly, in people with disabilities, in cases of autism and in occupational therapy.

On the other hand, the zootherapy is the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions that uses animals and includes many types of treatments, based or animal products or animal, as therapy animals is based only on the presence of an animal to produce a result in the patient. There are also other therapies that use leeches, larvae or animal poison to treat diseases, through specific applications in the patient.

What is a therapeutic animal?

The animals that are used in therapy are those that, after receiving the proper training, develop the necessary skills that allow them to help humans in the physical, mental, pedagogical and playful processes that they need.

The best known or in which we all think when we talk about animal-assisted therapies are horses, dolphins and some breeds of dogs such as golden retrievers or labradors, which are also widely used in people who suffer from mental problems.

  • Dolphins are widely used in therapy and, according to science, it is the sounds emitted by dolphins that have therapeutic effects especially in autism, but also in Down syndrome. The explanation they give from science to this topic is that the sounds that dolphins make produce endorphins in these people and endorphins produce well-being and happiness.
  • Other animals such as alpacas are also used a lot in therapy, especially in people with autism and anxiety, and not only in the countries from which these animals originate, but also in the United States and Europe.
  • Horse therapy is known as hippotherapy and equine therapy. The first therapeutic application serves for the person who performs it to lose fear and be released in its expressiveness, thanks to the interaction with the horse, while learning to ride a horse. The second therapeutic application serves to improve the person’s self-esteem, hyperactivity, attention deficit, autism, schizophrenia or anxiety. It is especially indicated in people with autism and also in issues of leadership and emotional self-regulation, among other applications.

Within coaching, there is also the modality of coaching with horses, which is increasingly widespread to improve communication, feedback and emotional self-regulation. It is widely used in the field of development of leadership skills in the field of the company, because the horse needs to establish clear hierarchies and it is either the horse that leads or the rider and, in this sense, learning to lead the horse is a very important skill to develop leadership, applied both to the sphere of people and the company.

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Finally, do not forget to share with us your comments about this article, your visions about it and what you have lived as an experience in your life regarding animal therapy. Do you know her or do you know anyone who used her? What are the benefits you have seen or experienced in the first person or in the third parties who have received it? We will be happy to read your contributions and comments.

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