Equine therapy, also known as “Equine-assisted Psychotherapy,” involves incorporating interaction with horses while receiving counseling from a licensed therapist and the assistance of an equine specialist. This type of therapy provides a hands-on approach – learning by doing – to achieve your personal goals in counseling. Interactions are used to complement the therapeutic approach, i.e. cognitive behavioral therapy, used by the therapist.
Who benefits from equine therapy?
Equine therapy is offered to children, adults, couples, and families to help treat various struggles. The intuitive nature of the horse allows them to read our non-verbal cues. The feedback of the horse allows insight to bridge connections that aid in solution-finding. Because these connections are made through a hands-on approach, they are likely to have a longer-lasting impact.
What does it look like?
The Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (Eagala) method is used to provide equine therapy, facilitated by a licensed therapist and a qualified equine specialist in an arena. The manner in which the horses are used in therapy is based on the discretion of the therapist and the need of the client. The interaction may be casual, waiting on the response of the horse and then guided by the therapist.
The horses may also be used for a method called Rhythmic Riding, by which the participant actually uses horseback riding as part of their therapy. According to Natural Lifemanship (2018), “Horseback riding provides the rhythmic, patterned, repetitive movement needed to reorganize and heal the brain on a cellular level, to help clients learn to self-regulate, and to allow them to further recognize relationship patterns and deepen intimacy”. The organization further states that Rhythmic Riding can be used to:
- Build intimacy in the relationship as a natural progression of Relationship Logic
- Help the client develop the ability to self-regulate
- Facilitate the processing of trauma
You may request equine therapy or a trained mental health professional may recommend it to you. The licensed equine therapist will discuss this option with you to make sure it is the best fit for your therapeutic needs.
Having several therapists of varied disciplines and experiences provides our clients with options that best meet their counseling needs.
When people experience trauma or severe life stressors, it is not uncommon for their lives to unravel. We are passionate about bringing healing to people who have been through traumatic or stressful experiences. We help our clients, who include, children, adults, and families, to find a healthy view of themselves and strengthen their relationships so they can become peaceful, whole, and safe.
At FSS, our caring and professional staff are dedicated to your well-being. We can help those struggling with depression, stress management, grief recovery, divorce recovery, eating disorders, anxiety and phobias, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, self-esteem, substance abuse, post-traumatic stress, behavioral problems, emotional trauma, parenting challenges and many other issues.
We know that no single approach is the right one for every person, so we have been trained in a range of counseling techniques, including those listed below.
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is used to treat behavioral issues, attention deficit disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders, abuse issues, depression, anxiety, relationship problems and communication needs. More About Equine Therapy
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a counseling approach that addresses dysfunctional emotions, maladaptive behaviors and thought processes. CBT is "problem focused" and "action oriented".
Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
TF-CBT is a unique form of cognitive-behavioral therapy that has been specially adapted for children who have experienced trauma.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR)
EMDR has proven very effective for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in adults as well as children.
Play Therapy uses play to communicate with and help people, especially children, to prevent or resolve challenges. This is thought to help them move towards better social integration, growth and development, emotional modulation, and trauma resolution.
Battering Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP)
BIPP specializes in domestic/family violence intervention and prevention of battering behaviors used to gain power/control within an intimate relationship, marriage, or family.
Women’s Anger and Violence Program (WAV)
WAV specializes in interpersonal violence intervention and prevention of battering behaviors used to gain power/control within an intimate relationship, marriage, or family.
Transparenting is for parents with children who are going through divorce or separation.
Supervised Visitation can help reintroduce a parent to a child after a long absence from the child’s life or help introduce a parent and a child when there has been no prior relationship between them. Supervised Visitation can also help when there are issues of mental illness, domestic violence, child abuse or neglect, or drug or alcohol abuse, or when there are parenting concerns. It may also be appropriate to give the parent a chance to show they are capable of appropriate parenting.
How to begin Counseling:
Before we can set you or a family member up with one of our counselors, there are a few things that we need. Begin Counseling Services