Equine Assisted Therapy: A Unique and Effective Intervention
There is increasing recognition and integration of Equine Assisted Therapy in the traditional mental health field. Growing evidence supports the effectiveness of treatment with horses in a therapeutic environment. Studies have resulted in a body of literature supporting the therapeutic value of the human-animal interaction. Equine Assisted Therapy can help clients with depression, anxiety, ADHD, conduct disorders, addiction, trauma, eating disorders, spectrum and health difficulties, dissociative disorders, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and other mental health difficulties.
What is Equine Assisted Psychotherapy?
Equine Assisted Therapy is a form of experiential therapy that includes horses and a specialist psychologist or counselor working together with a client to create positive change. The therapist is specifically trained in Equine Assisted Therapy in conjunction with traditional training in the mental health field. Equine Assisted Therapy often includes a number of beneficial equine activities such as observing, handling, grooming, groundwork, and structured challenging exercises focused on the child's or adolescent's needs and goals. Equine Assisted Therapy provides unique non-verbal opportunities for the client to enhance self-awareness, recognize maladaptive behaviors, identify negative feelings, and face self-defeating cognitions. It may be used for clients with psycho-social difficulties and mental health needs that can result in significant changes in cognition, mood, judgment, insight, perception, social skills, communication, behavior, and learning.