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How Does Equine Therapy Work?

A woman wondering, "How does equine therapy work?"

Equine-assisted therapy works to change negative thinking and behavior. It’s a non-traditional type of therapy that works alongside more traditional therapies as part of a mental health or substance use disorder treatment program. It is considered a kind of somatic experience. Essentially, it allows you to focus on something positive that brings you joy through the special connection you make with the animal. The success of safe relationship building helps foster safe relationship building. Also, it lessens the risk of relapse outside the therapeutic environment in recovery. Equine-assisted therapy is one of many therapeutic modalities used as part of a customized treatment program.

Call The Arbor at 844.413.2690 to learn more about what an equine-assisted therapy program looks like on our ranch in Austin, Texas.

How Does Equine Therapy Work?

Experiential therapies are proving to provide a highly beneficial balance to more traditional talk and behavioral therapies as part of a mental health or substance use disorder treatment program. Having practices that you can implement on your own, outside of the therapeutic environment will serve you well in recovery. Equine therapy helps create safe relationships with animals that are very open and accepting. Toxic relationships with people in your life can be one of the main triggers of addiction and mental health issues.

Creating relationships that both the person and the animal benefit from creates many teaching moments as part of therapy. Better understanding the idea of reciprocation and that relationships should not be one-sided is a practice that can be implemented in your life going forward. Equine therapy also provides an opportunity to focus on something positive and constructive when negative thoughts or triggers arise from your past.

Even if you do not ride, there are ways to connect with and care for horses through things like grooming, feeding, saddling, and leading them. These experiences may even encourage non-riders to try something new and learn how to ride a horse. Therapeutic professionals, in the form of counselors or equine experts, work closely with participants as they engage in equine therapy activities.

Benefits of Equine Therapy

There are many benefits of equine therapy, including building confidence and safe relationships. These non-traditional therapy opportunities outside of a typical talk therapy session also allow clients to be more themselves and have the therapy team observe behaviors in a different setting.

Additional benefits of equine therapy include:

  • Trust building
  • A way to cope with anxiety
  • Feeling less alone and sad
  • Better impulse control
  • Learning problem-solving skills
  • Open and honest communication, both verbal and non-verbal
  • Setting safe and healthy boundaries
  • How to effectively care for someone or something else that you care about

Equine therapy is an experiential therapy. As such, it can work along with other therapeutic modalities as part of a customized treatment plan at an addiction treatment center. Some people have trouble opening up in therapy. Fortunately, this type of therapy can be a great way to break that cycle. Furthermore, it allows you to be more comfortable and confident in the entire therapy process. Building healthy relationships with horses will lead to building healthy relationships with people once you leave treatment and begin recovery in your everyday life.

Jumpstart Your Recovery with Equine Therapy at The Arbor

The Arbor is located on a picturesque ranch in Austin, Texas. It’s the perfect location to connect with nature and animals as part of your treatment experience. The Arbor’s equine therapy program follows the trauma-informed therapy model of Natural Lifemanship. This involves equine-assisted therapy sessions once a week for an hour. Sessions are led by a counselor or equine professional in small groups or one-on-one.

Equine therapy is all about creating safe connections. Horses are nonjudgmental, open, and accepting. To learn more, contact The Arbor today at 844.413.2690.