Equine therapy, also known as horse-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) it is a resource that many health centers use to treat patients.
In the case of CITA clinics, this form of intervention has been invaluable in supporting people with the main problem in which we specialize: addictions.
In this article, we’ll take a look at what equine therapy is and what benefits it brings to patients who are overcoming addiction.
What is equine assisted psychotherapy?
In equine assisted psychotherapy, a series of activities are carried out, either in groups or individually and focused on a single patient, in which people in the treatment or rehabilitation phase interact with the horses, with an emphasis on the development of focus and emotional bonding skills, as well as those related to muscle coordination.
Especially in the case of people with motor difficulties or very significant physical wear, these activities also include physical exercise, usually isometric (keeping the back straight on the horse, extending the arms horizontally, etc.) and maintaining the body. ‘balanced.
Its positive effects on dependent people
Addiction is a disorder whose harmful effects quickly reach all areas of the person’s life.
This is why, if the root of the problem lies in carrying out these actions which lead to relapse again and again into addiction (smoking, injecting heroin, playing bookmakers …), there is any a series of psychological and psychological problems. relational aspects which are linked to this first element and which reinforce it.
After all, every time satisfying the urge to use or to relapse becomes the addict’s number one priorityEverything he does from that point on to achieve it turns into a series of habits that exhaust his freedom and autonomy, making his life a vicious cycle of “monkey” and need satisfaction.
Horse therapy helps, among other things, to get the person out of intrusive thoughts related to consumption and to get used to a new way of interacting with what is beyond the cycle of addiction., Without considering it. as an instrument to continue to fall again and again on the behavior which is at the base of the addiction.
This paradigm shift when it comes to living life requires the adoption of habits that bring positive emotions and meaningful experiences to the person beyond the world of drugs, gambling, etc. Let’s see how it works.
Benefits of Equine Therapy for Addiction This is a summary of aspects of horse-assisted psychotherapy that are beneficial to patients who wish to overcome addictions.
1. Improves physical condition
Physical and emotional health are interrelated areas; when the body is weak, we have much less resources to resist the urge to relapse because we have very little leeway to deal with the discomfort.
2. It allows you to relearn the establishment of emotional bonds
Horses are very social animals and they adapt to the emotional reactions they elicit in humans. It has been observed that in many psychological and psychiatric disorders, these interactions help patients to “reconnect” emotionally with beings who are beyond their own subjectivity, Break the vicious circle of introspection and social isolation. By starting with the simplest, you will gradually gain access to social life through contact with people.
3. They bring mindfulness experiences
The horse therapy sessions are, after the first step in which you have to learn the basics, very pleasant and relaxing. This helps to make ‘cross and itch’ in terms of disturbing thoughts that often haunt addicts, an experience similar to what is achieved by classical mindfulness.
4. It is an activity to be actively involved in
Something as simple as taking an active role in an activity, which by necessity must be simple and not set very complicated and hard to achieve goals, is a first step in the sense of getting used to exploring the environment in search of satisfying experiences outside the domain of addictive behavior.
Are you seeking treatment for addiction issues?
If you are looking for professional support for addictive disorders (with or without substances), contact us. Fr CITA clinics We have a health team that includes medical staff and psychologists with extensive experience in such interventions, and we offer the possibility of treatment in our residential module located in the middle of nature in Dosrius (Mataró), where the many activities available are equestrian therapy by experts .. To see our contact details, access this page.
- Benda, W., Fredrickson, M., Flanagan, S., Zembreski-Ruple, J. and McGibbon, NH (2000). Animal assisted therapy: a very versatile modality. Complementary Medicine for the Physician, 5 (6), pages 41-48.
- Voelpel, P .; Escallier, L .; Fullerton, J .; Abitbol, L. (2018). Interaction between Veterans and Horses: Perceptions of Benefits. Journal of Psychosocial and Mental Health Nursing Services. 56 (5): 7-10.
- Signal, T .; Wilson, R .; Nelson, A. (2016). Equine assisted therapy and learning. Society and animals. 24 (4): pages 337 to 357.