The Benefits of Equine Therapy in Addiction Treatment

In equine therapy, patient’s behaviors during the activities are observed and assessed.
Equine-assisted therapy has proven to be a tremendously successful form of therapy for those suffering from addiction and other mental illnesses.

During this experiential form of therapy, patients use a horse that is assigned to them individually to complete activities that lay a foundation for recovery through learning to manage emotions that arise during therapy. In equine therapy, patient’s behaviors during the activities are observed and assessed.  

In creating a bond with an animal, patients are taken out of their own minds and are forced instead to feel with their hearts. Patients who abused substances in order to numb themselves to emotions are suddenly able to feel again through working with the horse. As those feelings arise, the patient is then taught how to process those emotions.  

Patients of Equine Therapy Learn:

• To have a more positive outlook on life

• Communication skills

• Assertiveness

• Confidence

• How to work with others

• How to follow direction

• Leadership

How to create relationships

For some patients, it may have been a long time since they experienced a judgement free atmosphere. A horse simply accepts the individual as they are, whether or not they are an addict. This level of acceptance can be very liberating for someone who has been outcasted because of their addiction.

Equine therapy works very well for behavior modification because a horse will mimic the nonverbal communication that a patient displays. A horse will respond positively to warm, friendly gestures, while a patient who is displaying attitudes of resentment and anger will have a horse respond negatively to them. The patients will learn to adjust their attitudes, behaviors, and moods so they can successfully complete activities with the cooperation of the horse. In this sense, patients are learning a life skill: that people respond differently to a better attitude.

In focusing on challenges assigned to them, patients are freeing their mind of the thoughts that hold them back, allowing them to break down the walls that usually guard their emotions. This makes it easier for the therapist to work with the patients on issues that are hindering their sobriety.

Working with a horse requires being present in the moment. Those detached from the present will not be able to guide a hose to successfully complete challenges and activities. Living in the current moment is a profound experience for those who are living in the past, or are anxious about the future. It has been proven that equine therapy actually reduces anxiety, depression, heart rate, blood pressure, and teaches a healthy response to stress. Patients who participate in equine therapy notice a significant improvement in their emotional health once therapy is completed.

Distributed by Client Initiatives

Media Contact
Company Name: Cold Creek Behavior Health
Contact Person: Scott
Phone: 866-523-3596
Address:PO Box 640
City: Kayville
State: Utah
Country: United States