For many teens today, surviving adolescence can be a huge challenge. In particular, gay teens often face a higher level of discrimination and bullying simply because of their sexual orientation. This can negatively impact their self-esteem at a time when teens are particularly vulnerable to drugs and peer pressure. One way to combat low self-esteem is through equine therapy. The benefits of equine therapy for gay teens can be huge.
Equine therapy is the practice of utilizing horses to create therapeutic healing for clients. Horses can be used to teach communication. Shouting at the horse, or trying to force the horse to do something, will not work. In order for the human and the horse to work together, a consistent form of calm communication must be employed. Equine therapy can also be used to demonstrate the importance of connection. A trusting relationship is necessary between the human and the horse, in order for the human to walk beside the horse in the arena.
Equine therapy can be particularly effective for gay teens that are looking for greater levels of acceptance. Acceptance can feel like a rare occurrence for gay teens, due to the anti-gay discrimination that they may face in their schools and in their homes. Horses can help these teens to find acceptance and belonging, as horses do not judge people based on their race, class, gender, or sexual orientation. This type of therapy is also effective for teens who do not respond to traditional “talk therapy” or who may feel isolated among a group of peers in “group therapy.”
Gay teens face many challenges in today’s world. The advantages of equine therapy for gay teens are numerous and those advantages make this therapy a popular choice for many parents today.