Equine Facilitated Therapy is used to enhance an individual’s ability to integrate the fundamental tools they learn in treatment. As one commits to investing in wellness they begin to re-activate their own natural ability to heal. Time spent interacting with the horses and therapist helps reconnect them to positive resources, gain insight into their behaviors, reinforce their ability to be in the present moment and support the journey of recovery. This gentle, non-invasive, experiential therapy has proven to be effective in building confidence without fear of criticism. As most people with addiction disorders have experienced some form of trauma in their lives it is critical to employ methods of treatment which are restorative.
Since horses are pack animals, they are able to sense and respond to other’s feeling, detecting fear, anger, sadness, joy and love, to name a few. The horses provide immediate feedback, serving as a mirror to connect the individual with emotions that are hidden to them. Addictions disconnect one from their authentic self, distorting feelings, for example many people will present as angry, when in fact they are experiencing pain. Patients are often at a loss as to how to articulate their experiences with the horses other than to report that they feel more whole, grounded in the present moment and aware of their boundaries.
By Piper Deggan