How Does Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy Help Trauma Survivors?

How Does Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy Help Trauma Survivors?

How Does Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy Help Trauma Survivors?

As time and medical advancements progress, we are learning new modern ways to help bring trauma survivors long-lasting relief. At Restoration Recovery, we recognize that the process of healing from trauma is complex and ever-changing. But we also know that new types of therapy have been proven to add to progress for some individuals. One of such forms of trauma therapy is equine-assisted psychotherapy. 

Equine-assisted psychotherapy involves working with horses as clients work through their unique struggles and emotions. A lot of people who have been through trauma don’t feel comfortable opening up to other people. However, they may be more comfortable forming a bond with an animal like a horse. In addition to trauma, equine-assisted psychotherapy can help with conditions such as anxiety, depression, substance misuse recovery, and much more. 

Equine-assisted psychotherapy is often used to help children who are healing from past trauma. However, this type of therapy can benefit people of all different ages. 

What Is Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy?

You may have heard about the mental health benefits of therapy animals like dogs and cats. Animals such as these offer unfailing love and loyalty. Playing with them, caring for them, and even just spending time in their presence can ease anxiety and depression and boost your mood. These same benefits associated with dogs and cats can also be associated with horses. 

A lot of trauma survivors have experienced some sort of abuse in their past. This abuse can make it difficult for them to trust or even form healthy relationships with other people. They may struggle to open up with other people and be vulnerable with them. In some cases, they might not even want to be touched by others. 

As humans, we are designed to be social beings. We need human interaction to live happy and healthy lives. When we’re not able to get that interaction, it can take a major toll on mental health. This can make the process of healing from past trauma all the more difficult. 

Spending time with a horse, grooming it, and going for rides can help you to form a bond that is different than any relationships you may have had in the past. You can relax knowing that you can trust the animal completely and that they’re not going to harm you. Ideally, you’ll feel a greater sense of peace during and after spending time with a horse in equine-assisted psychotherapy. As time goes on, this can, in turn, help you to begin opening up to other people again. 

What Can I Expect From an Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy Session?

While equine-assisted psychotherapy therapy sessions may vary depending on what facility you visit, there are some basic things to expect. It is a type of talk therapy that is guided by a mental health professional. You will work alongside the horse as the therapist helps you to explore and discuss different emotions you may be feeling. This can help you to work through underlying problems that you may have hidden underneath the surface. 

When many people experience trauma, especially children, they bury their feelings deep within themselves. They may try to go on with life pretending like what they experienced never happened. This is because the emotions they are dealing with are so complex that they don’t know how to handle them. They can go years and even decades without addressing the problem, which can keep healing from happening. 

By working alongside a horse through equine-assisted psychotherapy, you can begin addressing these buried issues in a positive and productive way. One of the ways horses can help with the healing process is through something called feedback and mirroring. Animals can pick up on our feedback and tell when we are anxious or on edge. As a result, they are going to mirror our behavior. 

This can help you to become more self-aware during your time working with the animal. It can also motivate you to stay calm so that the horse will stay calm as well. At Restoration Recovery, some things that you can expect to do during this type of therapy include:

  • Feeding the horse
  • Leading the horse
  • Stacking the horse’s hay
  • Grooming the horse

What Are Some of the Benefits of Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy?

There are a number of different benefits associated with equine-assisted psychotherapy. One of the most important benefits is that it helps you to work on being more vulnerable. You don’t have to worry about a horse judging you, so you can feel confident and comfortable around them. This can help you with future relationships. 

Some other benefits associated with this type of therapy include: 

  • Increased independence 
  • Stress management 
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Impulse control
  • Social awareness
  • Better social awareness 
  • Emotional awareness
  • Adaptability 
  • Responsibility
  • Self-confidence 

At Restoration Recovery, we know that a major aspect of the recovery journey is mental health. It’s important to do everything possible to strengthen and protect your mental health as you navigate recovery. Equine-assisted psychotherapy is just one of the many options you can try on your healing journey. 

There are a lot of different factors that can play into your likelihood of struggling with substance misuse. Trauma is one of the most common. If you are a trauma survivor, you might feel hopeless and alone. You might struggle to see the light at the end of the tunnel and view substance misuse as a way of coping. The truth is that there is help available – you just have to ask for it. Our team at Restoration Recovery treats a wide variety of different addictions. We can help you to take the first step toward living a happier and healthier life today. Call (888) 290-0925 to learn more today.

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