Equine therapy has long been a highly successful treatment modality for many disabilities and illnesses. It has also become instrumental in treating clients with substance abuse issues. An equine therapist supervises the sessions, usually alongside a ranch or horse professional. Clients are tasked with grooming, feeding, haltering, and leading the horses.
Through these tasks, clients begin to identify personal tendencies and how they may affect relationships. Because horses are very sensitive to energy and emotions, clients learn how their actions directly impact the energy and behaviors of others. Through this learning process, they begin to discover harmony with the horses as they take responsibility for themselves and care for these beautiful animals.
Equine therapy also teaches important skills like assertiveness, emotional awareness, empathy, flexibility, tolerance, coping, stress management, impulse control, self-actualization, independence, and social responsibility.
While this may seem an unconventional form of treatment, equine therapy provides a unique opportunity for the therapist and client to explore relationships in a different way. Horses are non-judgmental, have no expectations or ulterior motives, and meet each individual precisely where they are. The horses mirror the client’s attitudes and behaviors, revealing insight about and to the client in a non-threatening way. This process can help clients recognize tendencies in themselves like self-doubt or self-defeating thoughts and actions. Once these realizations occur, further examination, discussion, and therapy are possible.
Ultimately, the goal of equine therapy is to teach clients accountability, responsibility, self-confidence, self-control, and problem-solving. Equine therapy also provides a platform through which the therapist and client can explore and address emotional and behavioral challenges.
Evidence Based Therapies
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