Are you interested in the benefits of equine therapy? Are you curious as to whether or not it will help you overcome your mental health issues?
Equine therapy is growing in popularity due to its benefits when used alongside traditional therapeutic treatments. Spending time with these beautiful, intelligent treasures may teach you exactly what you need in order to gain the empowerment necessary for healing.
What is Equine Therapy?
Equine therapy, sometimes referred to as an equine-assisted therapy model (EAP), is used to engage multiple senses while still having psychotherapy sessions. While working to uncover emotional issues and learning how to properly process them, clients are able to be outdoors engaging with the horses.
Equine therapy doesn’t necessarily involve horseback riding, but rather close interaction that allows bonds to form. Individuals who take part in equine therapy spend their time grooming, feeding, and leading the horse. They learn empathy with the horse and will begin to gain a better sense of their own emotions and how to regulate them.
When used in conjunction with routine psychotherapy, mental health professionals find that there are many benefits of equine therapy.
Mental Health Conditions that Benefit from Equine Therapy
Although it is not effective for every mental health condition, there are many that are positively impacted by the benefits of equine therapy. A few of the most common include:
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Substance abuse disorders
The research continues to grow about the effectiveness of equine therapy on mental health conditions. As it does, this list is likely to expand.
7 Benefits of Equine Therapy
The more equine therapy is included as a treatment modality in the world of mental health, the more advantages are discovered. Thus far, there are many benefits of equine therapy that have been proven time and time again. Let’s take a look at 7 of them:
For those who have had their trust violated in any way through their experiences, learning to trust again can be challenging. However, one of the most significant benefits of equine therapy includes the level of trust that is built between the client and the horse.
It is imperative that the individual learn to trust the horse – as well as themselves and their therapist. Not only does this help with building interpersonal relationships, but it also aids in healing and restoration.
Regardless of what is going on in life, sometimes it is necessary to put things aside and focus on a different situation or need. As a client begins to develop relationships with their horse, they are eventually able to put aside their own needs while they focus on nurturing and caring for the animal.
Setting aside one’s own tough emotions to be present for someone else isn’t always easy. But, equine therapy teaches that it is possible.
Boosting Self Confidence
In order to overcome the many obstacles that come with mental health conditions, the individual needs to feel confident and empowered. They need to be able to feel as though they have what it takes to accomplish anything that comes their way.
The benefits of equine therapy allow for self-esteem to be built up in a real environment that is void of competition or judgment. Over time they can begin to feel good about themselves and their confidence levels will begin to soar. As a result, they will be able to feel stronger about progressing through treatment.
Communication is key in different aspects of life. For someone who has been through trauma or struggling with a mental health condition, communicating effectively can be hard. With equine therapy, all types of communication are learned – even without words. It helps individuals gain a deeper understanding of non-verbal cues and communication.
Greater Feelings of Self-Control
Regulating emotions and impulses requires self-control. And gaining this is one of the benefits of equine therapy.
Working with horses means remaining calm and non-reactive. You need to be aware of your own emotions and remain in control. The horse is looking to you as a leader. By spending time with the horses and going through their grooming and feeding routines, individuals are better able to handle themselves and work alongside others.
It is so important to have boundaries in order to protect oneself. For those individuals who have experienced trauma, abusive relationships, and the like, being able to create boundaries is essential for healing.
Equine therapy can help clients take a step forward. They can view the horse as a large, powerful animal yet understand that the horse can still stay within the individual’s boundaries in a mutual relationship.
This awareness can be life-changing.
Mindfulness can benefit life in so many ways. For those dealing with certain mental health conditions, the ability to practice mindfulness can be a tremendous coping skill. With equine therapy, it is important to remain focused and centered. And as the individuals do, their repetitive motions and attention given to the horse can help reaffirm mindful behavior as the horse returns the behavior.
Discover the Benefits of Equine Therapy at Amend Treatment
When something works, you use it. And that is exactly how we feel at Amend Treatment. We have seen what time spent with these powerful, majestic animals can do for our clients – so we continue to offer it as part of our treatment modalities.
Many clients have been able to overcome struggles with communication, trust, and setting boundaries. They have watched their own struggles with self-confidence and lack of control dissipate as they spend more and more time with the horses.
Coincidence? Not at all.
As mentioned above, equine therapy can benefit those dealing with many different mental health conditions. Why not see if this could be a positive addition to your healing journey at Amend Treatment?
Contact us today to learn more.