What is equine therapy treatment?
Drug treatment facilities nationwide employ traditional and holistic therapy options to help an addict get and stay sober. An increasing number of these facilities are utilizing equine therapy to help patients experience positive change in their lives. Equine-assisted therapy may be of benefit to those who are struggling to achieve their treatment goals.
Research has shown that equine-based therapy lowers blood pressure, relieves stress, and reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Additionally, animal-based therapy such as equine therapy helps newly recovering addicts develop the healthy living skills needed to achieve lasting sobriety. The following are the main benefits of equine therapy in drug treatment.
Would you like to learn more about equine therapy and treatment? Call the treatment professionals at B-Hope toll-free today.
Five Benefits of Equine-Based Therapy for Addiction Treatment
Learning to Identify and Cope with Feelings
The first benefit of equine therapy is that it helps addicts learn to identify and cope with their feelings. For people who struggle with an addiction, the feelings that experience are often traumatic and painful. To deal with these feelings, addict turn to drugs and alcohol. A key component in drug treatment is helping the addict learn, experience and cope with emotions without turning to substances.
Equine therapy can be a powerful tool to help the addict get in touch with their thoughts and feelings. Horses have a unique ability to sense emotions. If someone is feeling angry or is feeling anxious, the horse may become skittish or turn away from a person. However, when someone approaches a horse in a calm and open manner, the horse is more likely to respond in kind. Equine therapy for addiction treatment helps addicts achieve self-awareness and can help people see themselves in more realistic terms.
Promotes Effective Communication Skills
For those who chronically abuse drugs and alcohol, their ability to have healthy communication with others greatly diminishes over time. Since they isolate themselves to hide their addiction, they may have difficulty relating or getting close to other people. When an addict takes part in an equine therapy for addiction program, they can learn how to establish bonds with others.
When a newly recovering addict works closely with horses, they begin to recognize their conscious and unconscious patterns when interacting with others. Horses are excellent communicators, and patients can learn how others communicate and how behavior affects others. While riding can be a huge part of equine therapy, there are other ways in which patients can learn how to interact with horses. By taking part in activities such as leading, haltering and grooming, patients can learn how to approach others with both respect and awareness.
Helps Addicts Better Manage Behavior
Another benefit of equestrian therapy is it helps addicts manage their behavior. Many addicts come into treatment and play behaviors that are manipulative, aggressive and even violent. These behaviors can endanger the addict, their loved ones as well as treatment staff. In an equine therapy program, addicts will begin to understand how the horse reacts to their behaviors. The horse’s reaction to the addict’s behavior will help them distinguish between harmful behaviors and acceptable ways of asserting themselves. Those are some of the behaviors that lead to substance abuse.
Addicts Learn How to Set Boundaries
Equine therapy also helps patients will learn how to set boundaries as well as respect the boundaries of others. Since the horse is an intuitive animal, working with them exposes their maladaptive thoughts and behaviors. During a typical session, handlers can point out to patients how their interaction with horses mirror interaction patterns in their life.
Without verbal communication, horses can make clear when someone has crossed their boundaries. If a patient is trying to be dominant or display passive behavior, horses more than likely will not comply with commands. By learning how to respect a horse’s personal space, patients will begin to understand that everyone—including themselves—has boundaries that need to be respected always.
Equine Therapy Restores Self-Esteem and Self-Worth
When an addict enters treatment, they often feel significant feelings of inadequacy and self-confidence. By working with horses in a structured equine therapy setting, it helps boost their self-confidence and restores their sense of dignity. Establishing a connection with a horse allows newly recovering addicts to gain the horse’s trust and unconditional love. When the addict experiences these feelings in a therapy session, the addict can feel a sense of affirmation and empowerment. Ultimately, those who take part in a horse based therapy program feel a great sense of pride with helps restore self-worth.
Equine-Based Therapy Helps Addicts Overcome Fear
Horses are often large animals and can be a metaphor for an addict’s unmet needs, past trauma, and feelings of inadequacy. Instead of running away from these experiences, animal-centered therapy helps addicts to process the emotions that drive their fear. In a supportive setting, addicts learn to face fears their fears head-on. By facing their fears, the addict builds confidence in their ability to overcome obstacles.
When addicts first enter an equine therapy program, they may feel intimidated and nervous when interacting with the horse. With continued therapy and support, patients learn they can process those feelings. Ultimately, patients will eventually feel empowered and can transfer those feelings of confidence when dealing with crises in their day-to-day lives.
Are You Struggling with Addiction?
The equine therapy program at B-Hope can provide you an excellent opportunity to experience personal growth. Our equine therapy program helps you develop self-esteem, confidence, and empowerment. In addition to our equine treatment program, we offer a wide variety of traditional and holistic treatment programs that can be tailored to your needs.
You can overcome addiction. With help.
The compassionate and experienced staff at B-Hope will be with you every step of the way. No matter the severity of your addiction, our staff will provide you the tools and support you need to break free of addiction forever. Call us toll-free today and learn more about our substance abuse treatment programs and how they can benefit you. Begin your journey to a life of happiness, health, and sobriety.