Horses are herd animals that pay close attention to the emotions of those around them, animal and human. They mirror the emotional state of those working with them, allowing therapists to see the sometimes-hidden nature of their human client. This unobstructed observation makes equine facilitated therapy for addiction treatment a useful tool for people struggling with addictive behaviors and not yet aware of their own emotions.
Equine Facilitated Therapy Focuses on Physical and Emotional Reactions
When working with a horse, you focus on raw physical and emotional reactions. Stay in the moment to be safe and keep your horse safe too. There is not time to intellectualize what you are doing or how the horse may be feeling. Act and react in the moment. The interaction between you and the horse is raw, unrehearsed or thought out.
Raw emotion is rich in information on how you react to stress. It shows your true character. Most therapists will tell you that everything revealed is good insight into behaviors that may prompt addiction. Once you have this insight, you can change those behaviors with cognitive-behavior therapy.
Benefits of Equine Facilitated Therapy for Addiction Recovery
Working with horses has many benefits for those struggling with addictions. Many people struggling with addictive behaviors have low self-esteem and addiction has only lowered it further. Horses are loving animals, often considered being like large dogs who show unconditional love. Love that will increase a person’s self-esteem.
But like a dog if a horse is mistreated it will shy away from the person. These very honest reactions from horses help show how non-verbal communication and actions impact others. It allows the opportunity to change body language when dealing with others.
Along with changing body language, equine facilitated therapy improves mindfulness- focus and attention. You must stay in the moment with a horse to stay safe. Staying safe is a part of personal responsibility, necessary to lead a sober life.
Facing Fears Through Equine Facilitated Therapy
Often those in recovery programs have never interacted with a horse. They report fear of such a large animal or fear of riding one. By facing their fears and learning to groom, lead, and work with a horse many of those fears are erased. In time, some participants take riding lessons.
Equine facilitated therapy allows those struggling with addictive behaviors to face and overcome fears. A valuable lesson used to let go of the fear of not abusing substances for relief from life’s problems.
When to Enroll in Equine Facilitated Therapy
Equine facilitated therapy is not a stand-alone treatment. It works with traditional therapies after detox is complete. What is learned about oneself while with the horses is valuable information for understanding addictive behaviors. Understand which can lead to lifelong change.
Want More Information on Equine Facilitated Therapy?
If you are in recovery and are interested in equine facilitated therapy, call Northlake Recovery at (561)-770-6616. Addiction specialists will discuss enrollment into an equine program with you at your convenience. Call anytime.