Animal Assisted Therapy and The Bowlby Center for Animal Assisted Therapy

Animal Assisted Therapy and The Bowlby Center for Animal Assisted Therapy

Dealing with the “Corona crisis”, with its implications for all aspects of life, required the team of therapists to address and create special techniques, different from normal work. The crisis erupted about six months ago and is still happening, therefore, it is not yet possible to draw far-reaching conclusions about it. However, some of the events associated with it in the field of AAT can be noted and characterized. In Israel, the first wave of pandemics was accompanied by a complete cessation of all civic activity, including psychotherapeutic treatments of all types and methods.

Under these conditions, the physical distance of the patients from the zoological spaces in which the psychotherapeutic activity had developed up to that time, specifically affected the treatment methods. The lack of direct contact with the animals, and missing the stimuli characteristic of the Zoo, emptied the framework of its essential characteristics. Despite the inherent difficulty, therapists sought creative ways to maintain contact with their patients. They tried to make the animals accessible to patients, using various tools to preserve the continuity of treatment. Indeed, the relationship was maintained in an online connection. Whenever possible, the therapists held in their hands and in front of the screen, the animals familiar to children, and together they sang songs, sharpened riddles, played and told stories. Many times, the animals cannot be brought to the screen, so they are symbolically present.  Through children’s responses to these stimuli, it was possible to get an impression of their emotional state, the difficulties they are facing, and to influence in some way the content that the children brought to the online meeting.


Share this:

About the Author

Avatar photo

Marta LejzenDr. Marta Lejzen PsyD is a Clinical Psychologist. She received her MA degree in "Universidad de Buenos Aires", Argentina, and received her PsyD Degree in the Professional School of Psychology in Sacramento, California. Her dissertation is focused on Child Play in Animal Assisted Therapy. Marta Lejzen had worked many years in the "Israeli Sheba Medical Center", as Senior Clinical Psychologist, and as a Teacher and Supervisor in the Psychiatric Unit. In recent years, Marta had held a position as head of the Animal Assisted Therapy programs in "The Kibbutzim College of Education, Technology and Arts" in Israel, and has taught courses in the field of Animal Assisted Therapy at the "Hachva Teachers Seminar" (Israel) and in the Medical Track at the "Tel Aviv University"(Israel) in the Department of Psychology. Currently and during the last twenty years, Marta serves as Chief Director of the "Bowlby Center for Animal Assisted Therapy and Education", Israel. Bowlby, employs a professional treatment team, which specialize in variety of therapy methods in the field. The sessions take place in zoos, as well as in petting zoos and zoological spaces, located in different regions of Israel. The Bowlby Center also offers advanced studies for professional staff and training courses for therapists.

View all posts by Marta Lejzen

Leave a Reply