Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
About Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
Equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP) is a treatment approach that uses horses combined with their surroundings to bring about an improvement in the in the overall well-being of individuals, from physical health to behavioral and mental well-being. EAP is usually termed and understood as an action based psychotherapeutic method backed by a strong experimental evidence.
EAP, as the name clearly suggests, uses horses as a therapeutic agent. As an experiential therapy, EAP provides individuals with a meaningful and healing experience as well as holistic intervention. This sort of holistic intervention is facilitated when individuals engage in a variety of activities with the horses that prove to be mutually beneficial. Activities like horse grooming, handling, feeding, walking, and riding have been known among many to improve the psychological health of an individual by providing a healing experience.
EAP is used to treat a variety of behavioral issues, psycho-social issues, substance abuse problems, ADHD, eating problems, anxiety, depression and different kinds of relationship and communication problems as well. It is also used to tend to various mental health needs of individuals that bring about variations in mood, cognition, insight, judgment, learning etc. As far as specific disorders are concerned, Equine assisted therapy is known to be effective for mood disorders, psychotic disorders, anxiety disorders, a wide spectrum of behavioral disorders, schizophrenia, autism, PTSD, a variety of personality disorders, and many more. EAP is, and always should be, conducted by a licensed therapist together with a horse professional. It is a special kind of treatment, some other forms of special treatment are Executive VIP Treatment, Airline Pilot Rehab, Jewish Rehab, Luxury Rehab etc.
How Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Can Help
EAP will help individuals enhance self-awareness, and restructure maladaptive cognitive patterns and behavioral patterns into adaptive and appropriate behavior, feelings and attitudes.
Physical therapists have noted that prolonged exposure to horses and engaging in various activities leads to an improved respiration, circulation, better balance, muscle strength, metabolism, increased fitness and feeling of well-being. Taking the range of physical benefits to a higher level, EAP reduces the occurrence of muscle spasms and is also known to increase range of motion.
EAP provides a range of therapeutic effects at the inner level. It helps to build insight for observation and growth and enhance self-awareness. Self-awareness proves to be beneficial for the individual as they start identifying and changing problematic negative patterns. Moreover, interaction with horses is known to imbue a lot of values in individuals like empathy, trust, patience, paying attention to others, better awareness about oneself and others, better communication skills, control over one’s actions, and emotions among many other.
Horses can be therapeutic in a lot of ways that overlap with the benefits individuals receive from therapists. Horses, like therapists, are non-judgmental in nature and can be a silent and comforting witness to trauma and pain suffered by an individual. Being experiential in nature, this therapy is known to impact the body and mind immensely. There are some significant psychosocial benefits involved in equine assisted psychotherapy. This therapy has led to increased self-esteem. Moreover, individuals learn to communicate in a better way, paving way for improved interpersonal skills and a better social life. Results have shown that autistic children, with the help of this therapy, showed for the first time ever signs of spontaneous communication with a horse. EAP thus helps the individual on multiple levels, it’s that holistic intervention that brings about change in people.