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Equine Therapy is an innovative therapeutic treatment. This experiential treatment involves the interaction with horses to address addiction rehabilitation. Equine therapy is helpful for patients who are withdrawn, shy or find it hard to relax and express their feelings in a group or even on a one on one basis. Working with horses allows some patients to address psychological issues in a way that is non-threatening to them. Equine therapy has proven successful in achieving similar results for patients suffering from problems with insecurity, guilt, self-image and self-worth.
What is equine therapy?
This treatment involves the introduction of horses to patients who conduct various exercises with the assistance of a counselor. The animal becomes a third party that contributes in subtle ways with the recovery process. The patient spends time caring for the horse, which includes feeding, grooming and exercising the animal while the counselor observes their interactions. This keen observation of the patient’s reactions as they interact regularly with the animal helps the therapist zero in on specific areas of treatment that need to be addressed. The result of this treatment has brought many positive results.
Horse therapy is an excellent way to teach patients how to maintain composure and a good attitude while going through demands of rehab. Horses are very sensitive and hyperaware creatures. If you approach a horse in a bad mood the animal will immediately sense that, and will not be very receptive. This helps the patient to become more self-aware of their emotions. Overtime, they develop a bond with the horse and its needs, which boosts their desire to be a better person and make better, more conscientious choices.
Equine therapy is effective in helping recovering addicts to learn valuable relaxation techniques. Gradually, they are able to open up, “drop their guard” so to speak. This enables them to participate in regular therapy sessions with counselors and other patients. One of the most effective communication skills gained from this treatment is body language and gestures, which are effective tools, especially in social situations. As this new found friendship with a powerful and majestic animal develops, it has been shown to distract the patient from their concerns about using drugs as their focus is put on something else.
Equine therapy is most effective in treating patients who show signs of the following conditions:
- History of rejection.
- Lacking a personal identity.
- Feelings that they have years of unmet needs by people who they love.
- Lack self-confidence and have fears of being inadequate.
- Demonstrate through behavior or verbally a need for support, nurturance, identity or protection
- Procrastinators. Unable to make decisions.
- Eating Disorders
- PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Equine therapy was first used as a form of riding therapy as far back as 600 BC. It was introduced to the United States in the 1960s.It was later discovered that this therapy had many more benefits than just riding. At our rehab centers, we use equine assisted therapy in conjunction with many of our other treatments to ensure a complete recovery with minimal chances for relapse. This therapy also helps the addict to build stronger bonds with spouses, children and friends because of the improved communication skills this treatment affords. Overall, equine therapy lowers stress, anxiety and stabilizes emotions that are often very strong during the initial stages of rehab.
If you or a loved one is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, call Drug Treatment Centers Manhattan, today at 212-202-5657. We have many other holistic and innovative programs that can make the road to recovery interesting and rewarding.