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Animal-Assisted Interventions On Children With Behaviour and Emotional Problems

Anita Pertoci
School of Advanced Social Studies Nova Gorica
Slovenia

Sebastjan Kristovič
Alma Mater Europaea - ECM
Slovenia

More and more children are facing behavioral and emotional problems, that are getting worse with the current Covid situation. One of more efficient and fun ways, on how to help children though their struggles and to teach them how to control their emotions are activities and therapy with animals. In 1960s, child psychotherapist Boris Levinson suggested using animals as co-therapists, as they are supposed to help ‘break the ice’ with individuals, who are a bit more guarded. Today, all kinds of pets are used for therapy purposes, not only dogs and horses, but also goats, cows, pigs, lamas, alpacas, chickens, rabbits, cats and even rats. Each of which have specific qualities, that we can use for therapy. But common to all is the trigger for wanting touch and curiosity. Which is important for learning new knowledge. Children are very aware, that animals do not judge them, that leads them to be more relaxed. Petting animals also triggers releasing oxytocin, which lowers stress levels and fear, works and an antidepressant, speeds up the need for socialization and connection to others. Children experience the feeling of being adored and needed, strengthen self-control, confidence and take control of themselves and their surroundings. We will present various methods and examples on animal - assisted therapies on children with behavioral and emotional problems.

 

 


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