A therapist with a special needs group at the Zoo
Hello Valued Supporters
In this report, we’d like to tell you a bit more about our wonderful team who work with the special needs community in Jerusalem.
Two new wonderful therapists joined our team this year. The Muslim Arab therapist who joined us last year continued as a valued member of our team – she is especially utilized with our Arabic-language participants – a great advantage over using a translator in this type of therapy. During the early part of last year, the therapeutic team also felt the tensions arising from the surrounding political situation. We used the situation as an opportunity to deal with complex feelings on both sides. We are proud to report that our therapists were able to rise above politics and actually gained a deeper understanding of the differing cultures and views in our team.
As part of our ongoing commitment to excellence, our team receives 90-minutes of supervised sessions from a trained psychologist once a week, along with daily supervision and guidance from the Program Co-ordinator. In addition, each year the team attends training seminars during which new skills are taught to enhance our therapeutic expertise. Over recent years, topics have included:
- Theory of group treatment models - because all of our work is conducted in groups, this topic is very relevant and important to us.
- Music therapy - we noticed how successful the combination of music and animals can be in a therapeutic session. For example, autistic children are often able to focus better on the animals when there is also music in the background.
- Patient treatment in situations wherediverse cultures exist side by side. Techniques employed in this regard included cultural sensitivity training, role play and guided imagery to access and deal with our own cultural biases.
- Nature therapy – an introduction to new theories and techniques with a view to enriching our existing work methods.
Training and enrichment of our team of therapists is essential and work has already begun on the arrangements for the first of next year’s training seminars.
Thank you for making this wonderful program possible!
The Animal Assisted Therapy Team at the Jerusalem Biblical Zoo