Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is a powerful and effective therapeutic approach that has an incredible impact on individuals, youth, families, and groups. EAP addresses a variety of mental health and human development needs including behavioral issues, attention deficit disorder, Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome, PTSD, trauma, grief and loss, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, life transitions, relationship issues and communication needs through a partnership with horses. The treatment team works together to see where the client is at in their treatment plan and creates activities that best address their treatment goals. EAP is an alternative to traditional therapy and great for those who have been “stuck” or who may feel disconnected. Because it is so effective it is considered a brief approach to therapy.
Why does this work?
Why does this work?
- Horses are sensitive animals being acutely aware of human emotions and intent. Emotions can surface much quicker in a session with horses than in an office setting.
- Working with horses is interactive and engaging. By experiencing the activities with the horses and working towards solutions, the process becomes meaningful and personalized.
- A powerful experience with horses can break down barriers and overcome stigmas associated with therapy.
- More action, less talk! The focus is not on hearing our clients say that they’ve improved or changed. Our focus is on seeing a change in our clients as they are able to practice new behaviors and manage their emotions when interacting with the horses.
The EAGALA model (adapted from www.EAGALA.org)
The Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association provides a standard and structure for providing Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning sessions. An EAGALA certified Equine Specialist, a Mental Health Specialist, and horse(s) work together with clients in every session to address treatment goals and facilitate emotional growth and change.
All sessions are on the ground with the horses, no riding is involved, and no horse experience is necessary. The focus of our sessions involves setting up ground-based activities with the horses that require the individual or group to apply certain skills. Non-verbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking, leadership, responsibility, teamwork, building relationships, confidence, and attitude are some examples of the tools utilized and developed.
Heart Horses follows EAGALA’s Code of Ethics and adheres to their level of professionalism. We share the belief that our clients have the best solutions for themselves. Rather than instructing, we give our clients the opportunities to experiment, problem-solve, employ creativity, and find their own answers