Equine therapy, or equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP) is a unique and innovative type of psychological therapy that incorporates the care of horses to help improve and increase emotional and behavioral growth. Equine therapy helps emotional behaviors as well as combative behavioral problems. Equine therapy is collaborative between a licensed therapist, horse professional, and the patient. This type of therapy is considered short term because of its intensity and high effectiveness.
Equine therapy is considered experiential because the patients learn more about themselves and those around them by participating in activities and car for the horses. The second part of equine therapy is the processing, where the patient processes their feelings and behavior patterns. This therapy approach is very much like rope courses, which are also used by therapists to help model the tangles and traps of everyday life and the way to deal with them. Equine therapy has been shown to help both the patients as well as the people that they interact with, like friends and family members.
Equine therapy has been shown to be a very effective and powerful therapy option and seems to have a great impact on the people that participate. Equine therapy helps emotional behaviors and addresses many different types of human development and mental health needs. Equine therapy has been shown to be effective in improving many skills including non-verbal communication, creative thinking, problem solving, assertiveness, work, leadership, responsibility, teamwork, attitude and confidence. The applications for equine assisted psychotherapy are limitless and will hopefully become a more mainstream therapeutic option in the not so distant future.