Pet therapy or animal media therapy can be defined as a personalized helping relationship to return to well-being with yourself and your environment through an animal. This plays, in a way, the role of the couch for the psychoanalyst: it allows the subject to confide in “someone” in whom he trusts, forgetting the presence of the therapist. This is what Albane Pillot proposes, among other interventions, concerning or using animals such as dogs, cats, rabbits and now horses.
The people who contact her choose their animal but she can change it if they fail. For example, if a child has difficulty reading, pet therapy will be able to help him. Under the supervision of Albane Pillot, the child will read a story to his dog, trained to listen. Not feeling judged, he will do it in a relaxed manner and progress. He will write about his session, always addressing the animal. The role of the therapist is therefore to control the relationship between the animal and the subject by allowing progression.
“We treat both physical problems of fine motor skills and psychological problems”
The areas of intervention are numerous: Albane Pillot works with people who are disabled, stressed or lacking confidence. She also works on animal phobias, the behavior to adopt when faced with a biting dog… She also offers her services to accommodation establishments for dependent elderly people (Ehpad) and hospitals because animals can provide well-being to people. “We treat both physical problems of fine motor skills and psychological problems such as self-confidence, depression, stress, separation,” specifies the zootherapist.
The horse’s contribution is important because relationships are often strong between this animal and humans. This is why it is often chosen as “media” by people. In this, the collaboration with Jacques Perret will be fruitful. The latter has already opened its doors to a medical-educational institute (IME) and the results are convincing.
How do you become a zootherapist?
There is no diploma in animal therapy, which allows everyone to settle down. However, therapists like Albane Pillot have training in psychology and as a canine-feline behaviorist. The only compulsory diploma is the Certificate of Knowledge for Pets of Domestic Species (Acaced).
In the department, other structures practice equitherapy: Anim’Art equitherapy, in Mérieux; Chevillot Nathalie in Villette-sur-Ain; Horsefeeling in Divonne, the Ecurie de la Vignotte in Saine Julie and the Stables de la Bervillière in Saint-André-de-Corcy.