Equine therapy, also called equine-assisted therapy or horse therapy, is a mental health treatment model that utilizes activities with horses. This form of animal therapy is designed to promote emotional growth in patients who suffer from mental disorders, behavioral problems, trauma, addiction and many other mental health issues.
Why Equine Therapy?
Most of us have seen how spending time with animals can reduce stress, relieve pain, and bring joy. These and other benefits also come from spending time with horses. While domestic animals like dogs can also be used in therapy, horses respond to human behavior based on perceived emotions and non-verbal communication. And, unlike other therapy animals, horses— like humans— experience and openly exhibit complex emotions such as joy, fear, and anxiety.
So, interaction with horses may offer insight into deep-rooted issues. It also identifies patient behaviors that may be potentially harmful. This, in turn, allows patients to better recognize opportunities for positive life changes. Then, professionals work with patients to explore and implement strategies to achieve positive changes in recovery.
Benefits of Equine Therapy in Addiction Treatment
Equine therapy provides a positive, healing experience for patients who want to address mental health issues or overcome addiction while building trust and self-confidence. In fact, patients who participate in equine therapy often acquire essential skills that carry over into their personal lives, including:
- Improved Communication
- Improved Relationships
- Emotional Regulation
How Equine Therapy Works
Equine specialists lead the therapy sessions. During these sessions, patients interact with horses and carry out specific assigned tasks based on their treatment goals. The powerful bond created between human and horse engages all five senses, often resulting in critical “ah-ha” moments for patients.
Session activities have no right or wrong outcomes. Like most forms of therapy, the process is what provides insight for each patient. While some experience with horses can be helpful, patients do not need it to reap the benefits of equine therapy.
Equine Therapy at Lumiere Healing Centers
Equine therapy provides a different perspective on life’s challenges, offers a unique look into the recovery process, and supports any treatment plan. At Lumiere, therapists monitor how their patients interact with horses. By observing the behaviors of both the patient and the horse, the treatment team gains a deeper insight into the patient’s struggles and a clearer idea of how to address them in continued therapy.
Lumiere Healing Center in Ohio offers equine therapy in collaboration with BayStar EquiCenter. This is not a riding or horsemanship program. All activities take place with feet firmly planted on the ground.
If you have any questions regarding addiction treatment or equine therapy, please contact Lumiere Healing Centers today at 513-909-2225.