Equine Therapy for Addiction

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Equine Therapy (also known as Equine-Assisted Therapy) involves the use of horses as a therapeutic tool in the treatment of mental health disorders and behavioral conditions, such as substance addiction, anxiety disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

What Is Equine Therapy?

Equine therapy is a form of animal-assisted therapies (AAT) that allows a person to develop emotional skills, self-confidence, and responsibility interacting with horses. With supervision from a trained therapist, patients engaging in activities such as feeding, grooming, and leading a horse.

  • Equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) places the focus of the therapy on the emotional health of the patient and their family.
  • Equine-assisted learning (EAL) focuses on teaching and enabling patients to manage their behavior and emotions by understanding a horse’s responses.

Mature horses are large, powerful animals; creating a bond with them can help recovering addicts build vital trust and communication skills.

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What makes equine therapy effective?

  • Non-Judgmental & unbiased: patients can often build trust and a raw, emoitional connection with a horse faster than a traditional therapist.
  • Feedback & Mirroring: Horses are highly sensitive to movement and emotion, creating a vital connection with the individual.
  • Managing Vulnerability: Horses can provide a valuable reference point for pateients to process their vulnerability, experiences, and emotions.

Equine Therapy for addiction treatment

Many of those suffering from SUD have issues with the dynamics of a healthy relationship, such as those relationships with their family or with their partner.

EAP teaches these patients to learn how to trust, deal and work with their vulnerability, and how to effectively communicate through their various interactions with the horse. This enables them to not only experience a new level of confidence and a sense of safety but to also learn the value of building healthy relationships with those around them.

Equine therapy for co-occurring disorders

Equine-assisted therapies have proven to be very effective in helping to manage several mental health disorders and conditions, including:

  • Anxiety disorders, including
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
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Equine Therapy in Scottsdale, AZ

Equine therapy has been shown to significantly increased positive behaviors while, at the same time, reducing negative behaviors. Patients have experienced positive effects such as:

  • Increased self-esteem
  • Increased self-respect
  • Improved adjustment to routines and guidelines
  • Improved focus
  • Less stressful friendships
  • Reduction in aggression
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