Animal mediation? Zootherapy?

L animal mediation is not a therapy in itself.

 

We talk about pet therapy when the animal mediation worker is a therapist by initial training, which is the case for me as a psychologist and psychotherapist; I nevertheless prefer the term animal mediation.

Animal mediation corresponds to a specialization of a professional in the medico-social or educational sector, who decides to train and practice through this mediation.


This is a method applicable to the various therapeutic and psycho-therapeutic treatments but also to social, educational, pedagogical and of course medical support. In general, the animal can become a mediator at the center of any helping and support relationship:

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physiotherapy, psychotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, current relations between the nursing team and the patient (care, nursing, meals, communication ...), education, pedagogy, animation, etc ...


We speak of activities involving the animal, when it comes to entertainment adapted to certain people, adults or children, in difficulty.

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In animal mediation, a triangular relationship is established. The animal is a mediator. It thus makes it possible to make the link between the patient and the caregiver, whatever his function.

The animal then becomes a motivating agent, a derivative, sometimes a confidant, an excellent mediator, opening doors that can remain closed without his intervention ....

Warning! The animal is not a tool, it is the relationship which is created through this mediation which becomes a working tool !!!

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The animal is a living being !!!

With its needs, its expectations, its emotions ...

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As a living being, it will allow the creation of a LINK between the patient and himself, a link which will then be able to extend to the zootherapist, to the caregiver. This is why we speak of a triangular relationship, between the patient, the animal and the therapist.

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It is the relationship that is created that becomes a therapeutic management tool.

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It is on this relationship that the zootherapist will work. It is this relationship that he will use. It is the relationship that becomes the tool.

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For there to be this mediation, there must be an initiative on the part of the animal, which goes into contact with the person. An animal should never be forced, coerced into coming into contact with a patient. This observation is reciprocal: there must be an initiative on the part of the patient, who will either seek this contact or accept it. It is through this reciprocal desire to re-establish a relationship that the link is created between the two subjects.

The animal must also ABSOLUTELY be trained in its professional environment and the public with which it will intervene !!!

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The animal mediator should never forget that the animal that works alongside him is a living being. He must then know him perfectly, and consequently his reactions, his threshold of tolerance to fatigue, physical but also emotional.

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It is often said that the animal is "an emotional sponge", but once the sponge is full, it overflows ..... The animal must not exhaust itself, physically and emotionally, at the risk of developing by following behavioral disorders. It is therefore necessary to know how to spot in his animal the slightest sign of fatigue, or quite simply a lack of desire, a withdrawal, which he must then respect. It is not about making the animal work at all costs.

The animal must take pleasure in accompanying its master, because it is by taking pleasure in working that it will open up with pleasure to people who can sometimes be completely withdrawn into themselves, or that it will seek to tenderness in another person who at first is aggressive ...

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I say it again, contrary to what we can hear or read very frequently when it comes to pet therapy and animal mediation:

The animal is not a therapist !!!

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The therapist is the person who is accompanied by the animal, provided that this person is trained to intervene in a helping relationship.

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However, we hear all too often speak of "therapy dog" ....

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The dog, like any other animal, ACCOMPANIES ...

  

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>> Little reminder:

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Zootherapy, or animal-assisted therapy (AAT), took off in the fifties, with the psychiatrist Dr LEVINSON, author in 1965 of Animal-assisted infant psychotherapy, a medical reference work.
He was one of the first to report the merits of the use of companion animals in the treatment of psychiatric disorders.

In the 1980s, the US Department of Health officially recognized the beneficial influence of the presence of animals on humans. Thus is born the "pet-therapy".

Since 1992, the International Association Of Human-Animal Interaction Organization (IAHAIO) has brought together researchers on this subject.

The creation of the term "animal-assisted therapy" is the consequence of the work carried out by Professor Hubert Montagné with his team from INSERM (National Institute of Health and Medical Research). Since then, many initiatives have been taken, allowing the development of related programs, through the intermediary of AFIRAC (French Association for Research and Information on Companion Animal), in two orientations:
- on the one hand, Activities Associating the Animal (AAA),
- on the other, Animal Associating Therapy (AAT).

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Important:

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Today, establishments are lost between AAA and TAA, visiting dogs, etc ...


AAAs differ from TAAs in that they do not have a specific therapeutic aim even though they can be beneficial for health. In animation, there is no therapeutic protocol, no objectives defined in agreement with the healthcare team.

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The zootherapy worker offers a helping relationship between the patient and the establishment. He has knowledge of the pathologies with which he will be confronted, and prepares the animals that accompany him.

The zootherapist takes note of the clinical picture of the people with whom he will intervene, defines objectives with the care team, and the methods adapted to each person that will be used.

Each treatment is an individual project, adapted to the needs, expectations and possibilities of each patient.


Monitoring is in place; dialogue and communication between the establishment team and the animal therapy worker are essential.


Pet therapy is therefore used as an adjunct to conventional therapies.



The animal also becomes an auxiliary to care, intervening with medico-psychological aids, nursing aides, nurses .... and carries very well its role of nursing aid itself !!!!



The presence of an animal can have a catalytic effect, contributing to behavior modification. The animal becomes an instrument of projection of the feelings and emotions of the person, whatever his age; we see it when this person perceives joy or sadness in the eyes of an animal, or that he says that the animal must not stay here because, otherwise he will be unhappy ... In reality, he projects its own feelings onto the animal.


This therapeutic power arises from the effects of the human-animal relationship. It is mainly from the attraction for the animal, its capacity to encourage, to motivate the human being, to come into contact with him, that the workshops are developed.


The benefits associated with this presence range from simple relaxation to the reduction of important stress factors. Sometimes, the simple caress, can temporarily replace a pharmacological treatment ... This is what some call "the magic of the sweet"!

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Subsequently, for example during behavioral therapy assisted by the animal, or its presence at the time of certain treatments, it is possible to gradually reduce certain medicinal treatments which aim to reduce, among other things, disorders of the behavior, pain, anxiety, depression .... We are talking here about care, or more adequately, care, not medication.


I insist:


Animal mediation is a preventive and therapeutic clinical method


It seeks to create, through the presence of an animal, a climate favorable to the treatment of mental and / or physical illnesses and disabilities, pathologies due to aging, social reintegration programs, etc.



Let us underline that the attraction for the animal varies from one subject to another, and that the way in which the person can possibly benefit from its presence, depends on the perception and the attachment that it has or in aura, as well as its entire clinical picture.

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This is why each therapeutic intervention using the animal must be individualized and adapted to the subject, to the group, with which the zootherapist intervenes.

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Adaptation concerns as much the choice of the approach and care method as the choice of the animal (s) that will accompany the therapist.


The animal mediator knows perfectly the animals that accompany him, their ability to adapt to new and unexpected situations, their reactions and tolerance threshold, and thus determines what is the best "use" that he can make of them, perfectly adapted to each individual, both human and animal.

I use the term "use" with caution, because we cannot repeat it enough, the animal is a living being and not an object!

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The various therapeutic techniques used are in turn adapted to the foundations and requirements of the establishment / structure, the medical profession and the family and are totally in line with an establishment project.

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chat en médiation animale et zoothérapie

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"Personally, I live animal mediation every day, and the word that best symbolizes what it represents: RELATION

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The bond maintained with the animal is essential, like that maintained with the person being helped. "

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"My animals are my companions at work, but they are also, above all, my LIFE companions !!!"

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© Copyright 2015 - C. COLIN