The connection between human beings and the animal kingdom is imprinted in the collective unconscious and molds our emotional world. The new field of Animal Assisted Therapy, which utilizes this connection to further human wellbeing, is rapidly growing and developing in Israel and throughout the world.
Many studies geared toward examining the unique therapeutic effect of animals (the "instrument"), indicate the direct and indirect effects of this connection on a patient's emotional, social and physiological state. The integration of animals into educational, treatment and rehabilitative frameworks is accelerating.
The Emotional Realm
Animals provide people with "unconditional" love, warmth and acceptance, grant them a sense of meaning and a source of security and pride, while also strengthening their sense of ability and self-image. Animals contribute to the development of self-awareness and awareness of others and to the development of feelings of compassion and empathy. They also induce a sense of calm, reduce stress and anxiety and diminish loneliness and depression. Animals help to lessen feelings of anger, frustration and aggression and allow the fostering of self control and emotional adjustment.
The Social Realm
Animals serve in a "mediatory" capacity between the individual and his/her environment. For example, a spurned child may become the "star" of the class after presenting and teaching about in animal, thus becoming the focus of attention. Through learning and a command of body language and communication with the animal, patients also develop better sensitivity and perception in their human interactions. Holding animals may also strengthen a patient's sense of responsibility and commitment to tasks.
The Physiological Realm
Studies show that the presence and holding of furry animals reduce anxiety, blood pressure and increased heart rate. Raising pets contributes to reducing the risk of recurring heart attacks and to better recovery. People who raise pets report a lower rate of headaches, constipation, allergy attacks, backaches, flu and concentration difficulties.
The three stamps display characters interacting affectionately with animals. The stamps and their tabs express the uniqueness of Animal Assisted Therapy, which allows patients to feel needed, meaningful, worthy and capable at every point throughout the process.
Dr. Yoni Yehuda
Lecturer, Animal Assisted Therapy Expert
Founder and Head of the "Havayot" Center