As part of a holistic treatment program, equine therapy proves a wide spectrum of opportunities for an individual to learn and reflect through their experiences.
This is a key idea behind experiential learning and a holistic treatment program. Through the interactions between the individual and horse, metaphors can be developed to help solidify key concepts from other program areas and provide a safe environment to challenge current ideas that may be having a negative impact on one’s choices.
How Horses Can Play a Part in Addiction Therapies
Horses are herd animals and have their own distinct personalities, while also being part of a larger group. Despite being large and powerful creatures, horses are also prey animals that have to be very aware of their environment and the energies around them.
Because of this horses live in the present and reflect and react to what is around them. This mirroring of energy is a great way to focus in on the non-verbal signals one may or may not be aware that they’re communicating.
Connecting and associating the horse’s experience to one’s own creates a deeper connection to the beliefs, thought patterns and behaviors that will influence one’s ability to make different choices after treatment.
10 Benefits of Equine Therapy
By integrating direct experiences gained through equine therapy to the overall treatment program a number of interpersonal and psychological issues can be addressed. These include things like:
- Understanding the impact of non-verbal communication
- Building trust in a relationship
- Building respect in a relationship
- Defining and respecting boundaries
- Building leadership skills
- Having patience with a partner or within the moment
- Understanding the difference between cooperation and competition
- Building and becoming comfortable with being assertive
- Becoming better at conflict resolution
- Understanding more fully the natural and logical consequences of a situation
Experiences with horses are a great way to foster a deeper connection to one’s self and create empowering moments one can come back to on the road to recovery.