As part of our aftercare program, we encourage guests to participate in equine-assisted therapy (EAT). Sessions may involve petting, grooming, feeding, caring for, or leading horses. However, guests typically do not ride the horses used in equine-assisted therapy.
Equine-assisted therapy has become increasingly popular in the recovery field. EAT promotes emotional growth, by allowing guests to be more in tune with their actions and emotions.
Working with horses can also increase cognitive skills. In turn, this reduces stress and helps manage symptoms of mental health disorders that often co-occur with substance use disorder. Because horses are prey animals, they are very much aware of their environment, making them especially responsive to human interaction. Working with such a large animal can be scary at first. However, EAT works to help guests work through any fear, and eventually, learn to trust the animal.
How does it work?
Additionally, horses cannot react in the same ways that humans do. Therefore, guests can build relationships with horses without fear of judgment or rejection. Consequently, these interactions help guests better understand human relationships.
EAT, a form of biofeedback therapy focuses on reducing involuntary physical responses. Guests learn to better moderate their thinking, emotional, and behavioral patterns. The goal is for guests to limit negative and dysfunctional thinking.
Working with horses can relieve stress by boosting dopamine and endorphin levels. Horses prove to be especially helpful in addiction recovery. This is because personal relationships are strained in active addiction, and EAT helps guests connect with a being outside of themselves.
Our staff will lead guests through activities and ask questions— Why do you think the horse reacted a certain way to a particular action? How do you think you should reapproach the horse?— to promote thoughtful discussion.
To learn more about our equine therapy program, and any of our other therapy programs, please reach out to our admissions team, available at (877)-RECOVERY at all hours to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have.