Equine-assisted psychotherapy is one of our most effective and innovative modalities for addressing a wide range of therapeutic needs. Through interactions with horses and with help from equine therapists, clients discover and explore behaviors and relationship patterns that have become problematic in their day-to-day lives. The very size and strength of these majestic animals can stir deeply buried emotions while simultaneously affording opportunities to identify and resolve practical matters of communication, empathy and basic interpersonal respect. Call 844-876-7680 to learn more about equine therapy.
How Equine Therapy Helps
Our clients’ issues stem from both a biological and historical perspective and have significantly impacted many aspects of their lives. Every week, clients marvel at attributes they see in our horses. “They’re big” is most commonly heard. Our equines are also referred to as adorable, sweet and strong.
Interactions with the horses bring up thought and behavior patterns that are related to the issues that have brought clients into treatment. We identify these patterns and customize experiential exercises to address each client’s individual needs.
Issues Addressed in Horse Therapy
Unfulfilled needs – and hopes – also find expression in equine-assisted therapy. Interaction with an animal as large as a horse affords the opportunity for clients to experience vulnerability in an environment that is not only emotionally safe, but also presents specific means of psychological repair. Examples of other therapeutic concerns that frequently arise in equine therapy are:
- Histories of rejection and trauma
- Confused sense of self or lack of personal identity
- Unmet needs for unconditional love
- Fear of inadequacy
- Needs for support, nurturance or protection
- Paralysis in the face of decision-making
These and many other issues play out during equine therapy sessions. Opportunities for addressing symptoms of PTSD, personality disorders, love addiction recovery, previous trauma, and core issues around addiction and compulsive behaviors emerge naturally through this expressive psychotherapy.
For example, a person who has learned to expect rejection and abuse might find they can also be “big” and have feelings and needs respected, when a horse responds positively to their direction. A person might find a sense of safety if they can physically move a horse towards or away from them.
Clients learn about equine psychology and explore similarities with human dynamics. A herd-bound horse, for example, is one that exhibits signs of emotional distress when separated from another horse. Awareness of this dynamic can point clients to parallel dilemmas in their lives such as separation anxiety, relationship dependency, or how they might express their own emotions or attempt to resolve issues with others.
Benefits of Equine Therapy
Through equine therapy clients are able to test new possibilities by taking initial risks in the context of a relationship with another living being, before taking the bigger risks in the context of human interaction. Clients reconnect with their feelings and corresponding needs and, with the help of specially trained equine therapists, find meaning in their interactions with horses.
Equine therapy offers an effective and creative way for clients to learn about:
- Self-worth and personal integrity
- Evaluation and establishment of healthy relationships
- Effective communication
- Addiction recovery
- Eating disorder recovery
- The value of trust and respect in relationships
- The dynamics of power in relationships (e.g., bullying vs. equity)
- Assertiveness vs. aggressiveness
- Respect for diversity and individuality
- The importance of teamwork and community
- Healing from trauma
Equine-Assisted Therapy Team
Our equine-assisted psychotherapy team brings horsemanship experience and more than 20 years of professional counseling to our equine therapy programming. Clinicians look for opportunities for clients to delve into situations that mirror their way of being in the world, employing a variety of educational, cognitive and experiential methodologies.
Reconnect with life. Call us to learn how: 844-876-7680.