What is Equine Therapy?

Equine-assisted therapy is an established and successful experiential therapy that has gained recognition as an effective treatment for addiction, and a wide range of mental health problems. EAP is an experiential therapy where clients learn about themselves by participating in horse activities, primarily groundwork, and evaluating behaviors and emotions elicited throughout the process.

EAP sessions at Breaking Free of Addiction are unique because they are facilitated by an equine counselor who is dually credentialed as a substance abuse counselor with CCAPP and certified horse professional. This rare combination is referred to as an equine professional. Equine professionals speed the therapy process because they can provide training and therapy without time consuming consultation.

Equine sessions center around offering activities that require clients to utilize a specific skill such as assertiveness, verbal and non-verbal communication, problem solving, creative thinking, leadership, maintaining a positive attitude, relationship building, confidence, and teamwork. EAP is effective in treating mental health and human development needs including substance abuse, communication needs, relationship issues and much more.

Equine-assisted therapy is especially beneficial for clients who tend to intellectualize. This helps these clients to listen more to their hearts and not live so much in their heads. “Intellectualizing is a major block to recovery for many individuals. Being able to break free through this is phenomenal for many individuals.

Equine therapy helps individuals get in touch with their emotions and feelings. Many patients have avoided feeling emotions for so long that they don’t know how to understand their feelings anymore. Through working with horses, feelings of fear, anger, resentment, sadness, loneliness, joy and peace are brought to surface.” These feelings are then addressed in the moment when they have the greatest impact.

Why Horses?

Those who are familiar with horses recognize and understand the power of horses to influence

people in incredibly powerful ways. Developing relationships, training, horsemanship

instruction, and caring for the horses naturally affects the people involved in a meaningful

way. The benefits of the work ethic, responsibility, assertiveness, communication, and healthy

relationships have long been recognized. Horses naturally provide these benefits. We are often

asked, “Why horses? Why not other animals?”

Horses are large and powerful, which creates a natural opportunity for some to overcome fear

and develop confidence. The size and power of the horse are naturally intimidating to many

people. Accomplishing a task involving the horse, in spite of those fears, creates confidence

and provides for wonderful metaphors when dealing with other intimidating and challenging

situations in life. Horses are very much like humans in that they are social animals. They have defined roles

within their herds. They would rather be with their peers. They have distinct personalities,

attitudes, and moods. An approach that seems to work with one horse does not necessarily

work with another. At times, they seem stubborn and defiant. They like to have fun. In other

words, horses provide vast opportunities for metaphorical learning. Using metaphors, in

discussion or activity, is an effective technique when working with even the most challenging

individuals or groups.

Horses become our teachers and mentors, helping us to heal and transform our lives achieving more positive out comes!!

Acknowledgment of Eagala and all before us!