Addiction recovery can prove a long and trying process. For decades, therapy was centered around 12-step meetings and in-depth counseling. Today however, there is an array of new techniques being employed to address rehabilitation. Equine assisted therapy programs are one such method; placing emphasis on the creation of meaningful relationships between horses and recovering addicts.
Introduced as a therapeutic option for the physically disabled, Equine therapy was designed to improve flexibility, muscle strength and balance. Over the years, therapy began extending to those with emotional or metal disabilities in an effort to raise self-esteem and patience.
Equine assisted therapy programs can benefit a wide array of patients struggling with addiction. Those with a dependency to meth, heroin, prescription medication, cocaine and alcohol may all experience the positive and healing affects of this therapy option. The only qualification for most patients lies only in a willingness to learn and grow from the experience.
How Does It Work?
Those in recovery will be assigned an equine therapist and licensed psychologist. Addicts will participate in a number of horse-related activities with emphasis on emotions, self-awareness and identity. Specific activities may vary depending on the program and patient.
The Equine Effect
Equine therapy teaches participants to become more in touch with how their actions and emotions impact those around them. It may also help addicts reconnect with emotions that have remained dormant during their addiction struggles. Patients often experience a significant improvement in their ability to trust others, access emotion, request help, and rise to challenges throughout their recovery. Horses are preferred for rehabilitation due to their ability to express a full spectrum of human emotion. Patients are forced to connect with their actions and emotions in a very simplistic and primal way – cause and affect. As the horses respond directly to the way they are treated, patients begin to understand the true weight of their decisions and outlook. This type of therapy not only provides a meaningful and positive experience in place of the addiction, but also an activity to ease the stresses of recovery.