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How Can I Benefit from Equine Therapy?

Animals are beloved parts of our society. They can help bring smiles to our faces, joy to our hearts, and relief to our weary bodies. As a result, clinicians have found a way to incorporate animals into the therapeutic world, which has proven to be an innovative way for people to receive the therapy they need. Equine therapy, a type of therapy involving caring for a horse, has proven to help people heal in tremendous ways.

What Is Equine Therapy?

Equine therapy, sometimes referred to as equine-assisted therapy (EAT), is a form of psychotherapy that provides the client with a unique way to process the hard parts of their story. They spend time taking care of and bonding with a horse. The client is still under the supervision of a licensed clinician, however, their time together and the treatment techniques may differ from a typical therapy model.

How Equine Therapy Helps

There have been many studies done over the years that examine the different ways that animals can help humans heal from traumatic situations. One example can be found in how animals freely give love without expecting anything in return. This can be extremely helpful to those that are trying to heal from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or those that struggle to trust others.

For example, equine therapy has been an extremely effective technique for veterans who have difficulty processing all they’ve been through. Dr. Shannon Sisco, a whole health coordinator at Houston VA, explains, “The challenge in equine therapy is to develop a trusting relationship with your horse, which in many ways brings out lessons about our own relationships and helps us learn new ways of being in them.”

Equine therapy allows the client to have real-life examples of what it means to give and receive affection freely. They may not have previously experienced this type of love. These positive reinforcements can empower the client to carry the experiences into their personal relationships.

Equine therapy has also been proven to be an effective approach for various medical conditions. The journal NursingOpen found that using equine therapy positively aided in the recovery of clients healing from:

What Are the Benefits of Equine Therapy?

Since we already know that equine therapy can help humans rebuild relational skills and trust, it’s time to examine the other benefits it can offer. These benefits include being immersed in nature, receiving individualized treatment from a licensed professional, and promoting physical activity.

Natural Habitat

Equine therapy can be especially helpful for those that struggle to sit in confined spaces. They may prefer to be outside. While the amount of time spent outdoors will vary based on climate, the client’s needs, the horse’s needs, and the clinician’s plan of care, equine therapy could be a helpful alternative option for clients that like to be immersed in nature.

Individualized Treatment

This innovative type of therapy can empower the client to cultivate unique parts of themselves while also caring for another being. NursingOpen confirms that participating in equine therapy can include, “improved balance, well‐being, quality of life, trust, spasticity, self‐efficacy, self‐esteem, nurse presence, pleasure and a sense of accomplishment.”

Work With a Licensed Professional

Used as a form of psychotherapy, equine therapy still requires the client to work with a trained, licensed professional. This clinician will most likely be trauma-informed and equipped to guide the client through this innovative type of therapy. They’ll also know how to help clients through tough emotional moments that may arise.

Promotes Physical Activity

As previously discussed, participating in equine therapy will most likely require a significant amount of the session to be spent outdoors. Equine therapy can require various forms of physical activity, which will vary within each program. A literature review in Cureus discusses the connection between mental health and physical activity. Physical activity can be especially important for those that are healing from mental health disorders or SUD. Cureus explains, “Physical exercise and yoga may help in the management of cravings for substances, especially in people who may not have access to other forms of therapy.”

Combining Equine Therapy With Traditional Modalities

Since equine therapy does not require medication, it can be used as a complementary technique to various traditional treatment options, such as:

By combining modalities, clients may make strides in their mental health and interpersonal relationships.

How We Use Equine Therapy

Here at Sage Recovery, we strive to ensure that every client receives the individualized treatment they deserve. Our clinicians are highly trained in various treatment techniques so that you have a higher chance of finding the exact treatment you need to heal healthily.

In addition to equine therapy and traditional therapies, we might also recommend that you use a combination of the following holistic, innovative techniques or programs:

Here at Sage Recovery, our licensed clinicians are trained to provide innovative approaches to treatment. This way, you get individualized treatment that will help you heal fully. We offer unique treatment options such as equine therapy, art & music therapy, yoga, nature immersion, and much more. Our trauma-informed clinicians are also experts in traditional treatments such as CBT, DBT, and EMDR. We offer individual, group, and family/couples therapy for those who need it. Our compassionate, qualified staff is ready to walk alongside you on this healing journey. Take control of your mental health today. Reach out to us at (512) 306-1394 whenever you are ready. We are ready and eager to support you!