It’s a fact that pet owners experience mental and physical benefits by merely spending time with their pets. However, researchers are busy knowing if spending time with animals offers healing experience to people with physical and mental ailments.
Equine-assisted psychotherapy programs or EAPs are some of the most popular experiential treatments being used today.
The Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association states that EAP is a form of equine therapy for treating several behavioral issues, stress, depression, anxiety, abuse issues, mental disorders, etc.
In this blog, we are going to shed light on Equine Assisted Psychotherapy in detail.
What is Equine Assisted Psychotherapy?
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy or EAP is a form of experiential psychotherapy that involves horses besides certified psychotherapists and licensed mental health professionals. The objective of the therapy is to achieve psychotherapy goals. In EAP, horses play a crucial role in instilling life skills in the patients.
Now one might wonder why horses are the best animal for such therapy programs.
The use of horses in healing people with a wide range of mental and psychological illness is based on the hypothesis that equines are highly emotional beings and non-judgmental animals. Since horses are sensitive to their environment, they respond to it instantly. When they are near someone with mental stress or psychological issues, horses sense it and works as a biofeedback device. The horse’s power to sense emotions enables the patient and the therapists to address the problems.
Here are some ways therapeutic equine therapy works for psychological ailments.
1. It provides insight to the therapists: EAP helps the therapists learning more about the patient. The way a patient interacts with the horse and how they respond to a horse’s behavior allows the therapist to understand how their patients interact with others. The therapist may either take the client’s interpretation of a horse’s behavior into account to identify the cause of depression.
2. Instant information: Horses mirror the actions of others: They give instantaneous and accurate feedback to the patient making them aware of their emotions and moods. The therapist takes note of how the horse is reacting to the patient and formulate further therapy.
3. Forms a healthy relationship: Horses are non-judgmental beings: They are not concerned with how one looks. They offer an unbiased response to the patients. This instills a sense of trust and faith in the patients. This way, the patients learn to form a healthy connection with others without worrying about being judged. Equine-assisted psychological programs work best to combat eating disorders. The EAP makes the patients experience with relationship less stressing.
4. Helps in Trust Building: Patients with some mental disorders suffer from psychological trauma and anxiety. Their condition makes it hard for them to trust others or form a trusting relationship. It’s often seen that such patients resist others and fear opening up their feeling with the therapists. Equine facilitated psychotherapy allows such patients to connect with the horse. It’s aimed at helping the patients break their emotional and communication barriers and feel confident in a relationship.