Multiple therapeutic modalities have been shown to experientially aide in an individual’s healing journey and emotional growth. These approaches can facilitate change of the ingrained belief systems that may drive an individual to repeat painful, non-productive behavior patterns and choices.
Equine therapy involves the hands-on interaction with highly sensitive, intuitive animals of prey…horses. Horses seemingly have the ability to pick up on non-verbal communication and mirror back to individuals their behaviors, approaches and even feelings. For some clients, this can be very effective in the healing process. The interaction between the client and the horse has been pivotal in developing healthy boundaries, addressing fear and trust issues, and building self-confidence.
This has been witnessed in both the individual and group therapy process. In the group setting, it can reveal very helpful information regarding a client’s approach to working in a team environment and understanding their worldview. The experience can provide useful insights for both personal and professional relationships. Some clients have significantly improved their communication style and interpersonal approach, while learning to be clear and direct in their intent and delivery.
Being able to observe, participate and problem-solve in these encounters with the horses can be both grounding and empowering. Partaking in the natural environment also provides sensory input that can be both a soothing and awakening part of the healing process.
Equine-assisted therapy can be a viable addition to an individual’s healing journey. Your primary New Leaf Center therapist can help determine if it might be an appropriate option for you.
Patti Hall, M.S., LMHC, CAC, CSAT