Equine Assisted Psychotherapy should not be mistaken for horseback riding lessons. With the EAGALA model, equine therapy is an experiential modality of mental health treatment. EAP Sessions are designed to best create metaphors to “real life.” This allows for metaphoric learning as everything done with horses is related to what is happening at home, school, work and within relationships.
Many have asked “why horses?” as opposed to other animals. For one, the sheer size of a horse can be intimidating to most people. Allowing clients to work in close proximity to these large and powerful creatures can help them overcome fear and boost their confidence. Additionally, horses are intelligent, social creatures with distinct personalities that can make them unpredictable. This creates endless opportunities for metaphorical learning. Horses also require hard work. In an era of instant gratification, working with horses require clients to be completely engaged on a physical and mental level. Horses are also particularly sensitive to non-verbal communication. Some clients can become frustrated by horses that are particularly stubborn and uncooperative. This can be a wonderful opportunity to teach them that by changing their own behaviors, horses will often respond differently. These are invaluable skills that can be adapted to various relationships including professional relationships, child-parent relationships and marital relationships.
What are the benefits of Equine Therapy?
Equine Therapy is a solution-oriented approach which promotes self-discovery with the use of horses as symbolic representation of the client’s struggles. By allowing clients to take charge of their own issues with facilitation by a licensed mental health specialist, equine therapy promotes a variety of useful skills that can be applied to clients’ everyday lives.
Skills clients may gain include:assertivenessdecision-makingaccountabilitycreative-thinkingself-awareness
We are proud to add Equine Therapy to the extensive list of services we provide at Stone Creek Psychotherapy & Wellness Center. Director Dana D. Debes, LCSW is now certified in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA).