Animal therapy: the effect and examples of treatment

Otherwise, therapy with animals is called pet-therapy, or animal therapy. These unifying terms contain up to ten different names that characterize particular groups of animals.

The direction of treatment of mental disorders and various physical and personal disturbances by "communicating" a person with a specially trained animal was developed back in the 18th century.

animal therapy

The origin of the

method Animal therapy began with the use as the first healers of ordinary domesticated dogs. There were unexpected assistants for the first time in 1796 in a philanthropic clinic for mentally ill people, organized by the efforts of the British humanist William Tuke.

This method of treatment did not resonate with generally accepted scientific standards and met with stormy resistance from the public. However, the study of the mental state of the patients of the clinic a short time after the introduction of four-legged assistants into the staff greatly reduced the aggressive attacks of the conservative oppone


It has been proven that by dealing with animals on a primitive tactile level and having the opportunity to provide minimal care for dogs( walking them, combing them, participating in feeding), the patients began to react quietly to surrounding stimuli. There were even cases of return of the former patients of the clinic to a full-fledged social life.

But the influence of conservatism of that time turned out to be too strong, and the method was not allowed to develop into the official direction of medicine.

This happened only in the middle of the 20th century. The American psychiatrist Boris Levinson, who was taking therapy sessions at home, was shocked to see the reaction of one of his little patients, a nine-year-old autistic, to a doctor who suddenly entered the doctor's office and was usually kept locked up. Not going with anyone to contact, the child began to play with a big dog and allow him to touch himself, which meant an unprecedented breakthrough in treatment.

Since then, Jingle has been involved in most of the doctor's meetings with patients and the mental state of many of them has improved markedly.

Colleagues of Leavingston, who met a new method of therapy with animals with ridicule, had to abate criticism when it became known that Freud himself used his dog Yofi as the main assistant during the sessions of psychiatric care.

therapy with pets

The essence of zootherapy

The main direction of therapy with animals is working with children and adolescents who have difficulties in communicating or disturbing motor-motor functions. The last, which has become very important, the use of the method is adaptive therapy of children with Down syndrome. Animals, as if taking upon themselves the possibilities of a sick child and moving always a step ahead, together with him overcome important steps in the socialization of the individual and physical development.

The psychological aspect of the method is 90% of the positive result of therapy with the help of animals. A child who is tired of serious treatment, perceives sessions with a four-legged friend as encouragement, a joyful event, a game that allows him to try on new roles.

The animal is not able to respond, but it reacts sensitively to any sounds and touches, so the patient does not experience stress from a feeling of misunderstanding, does not worry that he will encounter aggression or ridicule. He reveals himself most fully and himself initiates the motivation for action - to the beginning of a dialogue with people or to the first independent steps.

There are often cases when a series of 10-15 animal therapy sessions is compared in value with the full course of strong antidepressants or nootropics, but it is devoid of a huge number of side effects and contraindications.

The next 10% of success depends on stimulation at the physiological level. For example, in the process of dolphin therapy, the child's body is immersed in water and at the reflex level begins to interact with the elements, performing simple movements. A nearby specially trained dolphin enhances this interaction, forcing the patient to show increased motor skills for the convenience of mutual play.

Approximately the same effect, but with minor nuances, is observed when communicating with other animals - all-round stimulation is used everywhere.

Forms of Animal Therapy

Animal therapy does not always have a deliberate nature. This situation is possible if the house has its own domestic pet, communication with which brings family members pleasure. This role can be played by exotic animals, but more often one can hear about the curative effect on a cat or dog. This form of unintentional treatment is called "non-directional therapy for pets".

Another form - directed therapy - involves the involvement of a trained quadruped healer in the process. Animals, before getting admission to people in need of treatment, undergo multiple tests for stress resistance, patience, lack of aggression. They are constantly engaged in specialists, and the animals themselves are kept in conditions of increased comfort.

The main functions of the

method Animal therapy( hippotherapy, ichthyotherapy, etc.) pursues the main goals that must be achieved during one or several courses of treatment. Conditionally, the general effect of animal therapy can be divided into a number of narrowly focused functions, but it should be understood that even with the choice of only one direction the patient somehow gets the entire "range of services", since the animal will "lay out" completely.

  • Interaction at the psychophysiological level. It is formed on the basis of tactile contact with the pet, in games, in the process of caring for the pet.
  • Psychological impact. It is made up of different situations, but it is most often used to develop a sense of responsibility in the patient, to distract from serious problems, to enhance self-esteem and a sense of own worth.
  • For rehabilitation after trauma or for partial elimination of congenital physical and mental pathologies.
  • Expansion of the comfort zone for people with phobias and serious complexes that interfere with social adaptation.

It has been proven that communicating with a pet as a family member helps people cope with depression and a sense of loneliness. For many patients suffering from anthropophobia( fear of people), the mute interlocutor even became a pass to an active full-fledged life in society. therapy with pets


Animal therapy can be recommended to everyone without exception, but as the centers dealing with the rearing of special animals and realizing their possibilities for medicinal purposes are not so many, it is possible to get on treatment only according to the indications:

  • diagnoses of cerebral palsy, autism;
  • mental disorders, neuroses;
  • violation of the work of the organs of speech, hearing and sight;
  • underdevelopment of motor, mental, mental functions;
  • Down syndrome;
  • congenital or acquired heart and vascular defects;
  • birth and other injuries.

Separately send to the dolphin and hippotherapy of children with musculoskeletal disorders.

Types of therapeutic effects of animals

What is the name of therapy for animals with a specific species? The following types of treatment with the help of animals are officially applied on the territory of the Russian Federation:

  • Ichthyotherapy - communication with dolphins in their native, aquatic environment.
  • Canistherapy - working with dogs of different breeds.
  • Hippotherapy - communication with a horse and riding.
  • Felinotherapy - interaction with cats. Most often it is used in the form of non-directed treatment.

The most universal and widespread is considered to be canister, but in the process of long-term treatment of children with congenital defects of various etiologies, try to use all kinds of therapy with animals. Realistic images of animals and recordings of friendly sounds they make( for example, dolphin songs) can also be used in working with children deprived of the ability to move.


For each individual case, a canister specialist selects a particular dog according to the nature of the patient and the appointment of the doctor. For a teenager or an adult who has problems with socialization, large individuals of calm, phlegmatic breeds are selected. The same dog will recommend to parents of inactive children - you can lie down on it, long stroking it and feeling it.

therapy with the help of animals

Funny, active dogs, used for group and individual classes with mobile, energetic children. One hour of this game will help to throw out the accumulated energy to the child, fill it with positive emotions, remove aggression, tearfulness, threat of hysterical fits.

Often dogs are used to remove early fears associated with an unpleasant experience with other animals. Subconsciously, it is the image of a dog that is associated in a person with loyalty, selfless devotion, reliable friendship, so even the depth of a child's phobia, as a rule, does not stand several sessions of such therapy.

Dolphin therapy

Ichthyotherapy is not only directed at people with disappointing diagnoses, but also pregnant women, and even those who can not conceive a child. It's all about the ultrasounds that dolphins publish in the form of jerky, screaming cries or lingering, snapping songs - the power of their impact is so great that sensitive equipment can break down in a dolphinarium with several talking animals! On the human body, delphine conversations produce only positive effects, and children feel this particularly subtly.

therapy with animals as they are called

Dolphin therapy means short, no more than 25 minutes, sessions with animals. And this time, multiplied by 8-10 meetings, is enough for a long positive emotional reserve. Tactile therapy with animals only enhances the effect, and children willingly stroke the sides and fins of these unusual healers.


In addition to the unique effect on the pelvic muscles from a leisurely ride on a specially equipped horse saddle, communication with this amazing animal is filled with positive and calm pacification.

Animal therapy is called

For children and adolescents with musculoskeletal disorders, the sense of movement associated with the immediate proximity of a mighty animal is a lesson of unlimited trust and the discovery of new opportunities. Gradually, self-confidence and a sense of security in the process of communicating with a horse grow into an invaluable experience of communication in society.

Feline therapy

On the energy potential of home Murka, everyone knows. As well as the incredible ability of a cat to recognize the weak points of the human body. The cat catches the psychoemotional background of the person in contact with her, when receiving anxious impulses with her caresses, forces the host to a tactile response in the form of stroking. In these minutes, the human body uncontrollably sends a response - an enhanced synthesis of oxytocin, which when ingested causes a psycho-emotional feeling of tenderness, love, desire to do good.

therapy with animals

People who have a history of heart disease and blood vessels, notice that after communicating with the cat, the indices of BP often come to normal, the tachycardia stops, heartaches go away. Insulin-dependent diabetics feel less need for drugs to reduce sugar, since the main cause of increased glucose levels - stress - is suppressed in the presence of the pet.

In a house where there are small children and at the same time a cat lives, they are less likely to face pediatric and ENT diseases, allergies, and gastric disorders.

Contraindications to the method

Contraindications to zootherapy are both general and local factors. Common are:

  • acute infectious diseases in humans;
  • knowingly negative attitude towards such treatment;
  • severe mental disorders.

Local contraindications include individual intolerance to wool, saliva, animal dander, as well as the negative reaction of a specific individual with which it is intended to be treated. In the latter case, the specialist will have to replace the animal, since it is impossible to achieve a good result with a negative attitude of the patient towards the animal.