Emotional therapy with the help of animals is a rehabilitative-therapeutic field that aims to achieve emotional, functional and interpersonal goals through the relationship that the patient creates with the animal in the therapeutic framework. Emotional therapy with the help of animals is carried out in most cases as a structured intervention that includes treatment, work and contact with various animals.
Communication: Contacting an animal requires both proper access to the animal and attention to the caregiver’s instructions and guidelines. Accordingly, the patient should communicate effectively and appropriately with both the child and the animal.
With boundaries: Emotional animal-assisted therapy requires the child to deal with boundaries: in some cases these will be “boundaries” set by the animal and in other cases boundaries set by the caregiver to maintain patient and animal safety. Dealing with the boundaries set in animal-assisted emotional therapy can be challenging, instructive, and proactive for children.
Empathy: Empathy after is considered one of the most critical abilities for the ability to create and maintain meaningful interpersonal relationships. Emotional therapy with the help of animals is a therapy based on creating a meaningful emotional connection with the animal, and the caregiver can use the bond formed to strengthen the child’s ability to feel empathy, concern and caring towards the other.
Relationship Experience: The experience of attaching to an animal is often a very unique experience for children whose attachments to others tend to be limited and superficial. Attachment to an animal is often experienced as less threatening than attachment to another person, thus constituting a phase or “practice” of the ability to attach deeply to another.
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