A few days ago there was a sweet post about dog therapy over at Sunshine's blog. It inspired me very much, because it is such a simple idea and yet it is proven again and again to work. Just take a look at these extracts from a moving article about the effects of animal assisted therapy in children that's been traumatized in one way or another.
"Children and animals - a beneficial relationship"...
- Animals behave "neutrally" towards people. They mirror what others do, rather than making judgements. Animals are not calculating - they give and take without making conditions.
- It is obvious to them (children) that helpless animals depend on the care of humans. They develop a sense of empathy and their instinct to care for others changes their behavior patterns. Caring for animals encourages the children to develop relationships that boost their identity and their relationships with the animals make it possible for them to become more emotionally mature.
- Animals behave in a way that corresponds to human emotions, which means that they are real partners that must be valued, and this can result in trust and comfort, and support the children in developing social and emotional skills. Through the animals, the children gain new and additional experiences of relationships and learn to transfer these skills to their behavior towards other people.
- The children's strengths come out when they are caring for the animals, not their weaknesses. The reality is that there is a creature that is more in need of help than the children or young people themselves. Caring for the animals makes the children care for themselves.
- Since animals relate to people independent of social values and norms, they convey a sense of complete acceptance and therefore the feeling of being accepted and important.
- Animals show their feelings. They act as a stimulant. The children share the animals' feelings and experiences, so they develop a sense of empathy. Studies show that children and young people who grow up with animals are better at putting themselves in other people's positions in terms of feelings and needs.
- Words are not very important when it comes to the relationship between people and animals. The type of communication is the language of emotion, which is the language of children.
- Through their lives with animals, the children learn to deal with existential matters such as birth, the meaning of life, illness, age and death. Their perception of reality is improved.
- Animals can help children laugh and play and cause endorphins to be released in their brain.
- Emotional intelligence is encouraged through the children's relationship with animals: intuition, recognizing the feelings of another and reacting correctly (empathy).
You can read the entire article here.
Article from sos-childrensvillages.org
Picture © redrisk.org