How Equine Therapy Aids in Recovery
Equine therapy may be a more recent addition to the world of addiction treatment, but the benefits are age-old. While not yet commonly used, this simple — but effective — approach is something DreamLife Recovery is proud to offer our clients.
(Equine Therapy is a seasonal activity, and extremes in temperatures or weather may affect scheduling.)
What is Equine Assisted Therapy?
The goal of equine therapy is to aid in your recovery process. When it comes to horses, you have done nothing wrong and have no past problems that are being judged. To horses, you are valuable, trustworthy and are a comfort that they can, in turn, give back to you. The simple act of caretaking and petting a horse has a deep and calming effect on your mind and body. You do not need to ride horses to take part in and enjoy equine therapy.
There’s something empowering about caring for another living creature – something many people in therapy for substance abuse or alcohol treatment have a strong need to feel and understand. Individuals who participate in equine therapy achieve emotional growth by working with horses.
Benefits of Equine Therapy for Treating Addiction
Addiction is difficult to treat because it’s often a symptom of a deeper underlying problem. Many people who are afflicted by addiction suffer from a variety of other conditions, including low self-esteem, inability to cope, impulse control issues, poor interpersonal relationship building skills, and trouble with basic problem-solving.
Working with horses helps to build all of these and so much more. Equine assisted therapy provides benefits such as:
- Building assertiveness
- Developing empathy
- Increasing emotional awareness and understanding
- Enables patients to learn to pick up social cues
- Teaches tolerance
- Encourages independence
- Creates a need for social responsibility
- Encourages self-regard
- Demands flexibility
Learn More About Equine Therapy Benefits
Though the benefits vary from one participant to the next, equine therapy programs work in conjunction with the standard 12-step or alternative treatment programs. Valuable insight is gained by participants through guided therapy with their counselor.
While clients work with the horses, counselors help connect what’s happening in their lives with what’s going on with the animals. This helps patients bring a level of care home with them in order to maintain the positive effect that equine-assisted therapy has on individuals.
Who Benefits Most From Equine Therapy?
While equine therapy is highly effective for treating substance abuse and alcohol addictions, it can also be used to treat conditions which may trigger substance abuse such as:
- Eating disorders
- Mood disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Prescription drug addictions
- Narcotics addiction
- Alcohol addiction
Horses don’t care about background, income or future career opportunities. They are concerned with being treated kindly. In return, they offer their trust. For clients going through treatment for addiction and many other conditions, trust is the most precious gift they’ll receive during the entire treatment process.
The biggest benefit of equine therapy is the blueprint it provides for building healthy, lasting relationships that translate well to people. This blueprint can be used as a guide for creating new positive interpersonal relationships that lead to ongoing success. This empowers clients to cut ties with old friendships that may be bringing them down.
If you are struggling to overcome your own addiction or interested in helping someone you love battle through their addictions, now is the time to get help. Equine therapy programs, like ours at DreamLife Recovery, provide a great opportunity for success in your recovery.