Animal therapy – an auxiliary treatment applied widely in the whole world. People who have difficulties communicating and psychological disorders open up, their psychosocial skills improve, various traumas and illnesses are treated faster. Neurobiological contact immediately forms between a human being and an animal, as if animals absorb problems which oppress people.
In 1969, USA doctor, child psychiatrist B. Levinson noticed that patients felt much better, when a dog was nearby during a session. In 1992, in Finland, training courses for medical specialists were organized after which a certificate was issued, which allowed using animals, also exotic ones, for treatment.
We all acknowledge that the use of animals may become a valuable part of provided help. Animal therapy is a rather new method used in work with the disabled, thus, there is little information about it. Such therapy treatment may:
- Reduce separation;
- Improve child development;
- Involve into active life (conversations about animals, exchange of information).
Animal therapy is recognized in many countries, institutes have been established that research animal effect on human beings. Functions of animal therapy:
- Psychophysiological – contact with an animal may reduce stress, normalize the work of nervous system, the mind;
- Psychotherapy – communication between human beings and animals helps to harmonize and improve relationships;
- Rehabilitation – an additional way for a person to interact with the surrounding world;
- Communication – it is possible to complain to an animal, to tell something that we do not dare to tell a person. An animal does not judge and criticize. Animals teach empathy. Constantly tensed up teenagers, having communication difficulties or a syndrome “nobody understands me”, instantly change when holding a chinchilla, start to take care of the animal, feed it. Teaching discipline – animals, which people are able to see, are not wild, they are domesticated, therefore, they cannot find food on their own, ensure their safety, they depend on people. When playing children understand that an animal has to be protected, fed, and this teaches discipline and responsibility. Communication between children and courteous animals encourages immediate sympathy, love and self-control. Each animal is equally important and has to be respected. Slowly, in no hurry children try to read animal body and sign language, they try to repeat their moves and learn to control their emotions.
Animals encourage children‘s artistry and creativity. If a child spends more than an hour next to colorful parrots, his/her drawings become multicolored, more details appear on drawn animals – feathers, decorations, and in modeling – more interesting forms. Animal world is full of discoveries – how joyful a child is when he/she sees the interaction of Richardson’s ground squirrels, the curiosity of a meerkat, the happiness of miniature goats when they see children.
There is a hypothesis that electromagnetic field, which is inherent for any living matter, helps a person and animals to affect other biological objects. However, the main role is played not by intensity of radiance, but content, i.e. the information that is radiated. This frequency resonance can stimulate vitality of an organism in a sufficiently wide range. With this fact it is possible to explain why animals have therapeutic qualities.