Many of today’s successful treatment facilities for teens and young adults have discovered the genuine impact that equine therapy can have on the transformation of addicted youth who arrive, suffering from drug or alcohol addictions. EAGALA, an acronym for Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, is a program that incorporates a mental health professional and equine specialist to help patients identify, face and work through life issues. An alcohol or drug treatment facility that incorporates this treatment modality in their program offers a dynamic opportunity for self-discovery to each of their participants.
In the EAGALA model of therapeutic horsemanship, the patients do not ride. The actual opportunity for work with horses plays a completely different role in the teen or young adult’s therapeutic process. Each recovering addict interacts with horses from the ground, observing the horses’ reactions to them. These reactions can then be deciphered as metaphors that represent one or more issues that may be going on in the patient’s life.
Horses offer a unique reflection to each teen or young adult due to their basic nature. As very intuitive creatures, horses possess an acute sense of awareness of all that goes on in their environment. They are highly sensitive to the actions of humans and possess the ability to pick up on the non-verbal behavior of those humans working with them. They have the ability to reflect back to the teen or young adult who is working with them the very nature that the patient brings to the arena. With the EAGALA approach, the patient is allowed an opportunity to experiment, problem-solve, take risks, employ creativity and find their own solutions by working with the horses. Gaining an appreciation and understanding of the horses’ behavior in response to the patient’s attitude and care can be a meaningful reflection.
Working closely with an equine professional and counseling specialist can ensure the safety and welfare of the patient, protection of the horses and help in reflecting meaningful observations associated with the horses’ behavior. The patient is required to participate in a variety of activities that requires interaction with the horses. These may range from simply being in the horse’s presence to asking the horse to navigate an obstacle course. A program of interaction with the horses can be driven by the patient’s decisions, perceptions and self-awareness. Once each session with the horses has been completed, a time for sharing by the patient is encouraged. This program can truly act as a catalyst for greater self-awareness, personal discovery and healing.
Distributed by Client Initiatives
Company Name: Wilderness Treatment Center
Contact Person: Matthew Brekke
Address:200 Hubbart Dam Rd
Country: United States