Equine therapy is a form of psychotherapy that involves interactions between patients and horses. Various types of addiction and substance abuse can be aided with the use of equine therapy. The goal of using equine therapy is to help patients gain the skills and characteristics they need in order to thrive and succeed. Traits such as accountability, self-confidence, self-esteem, responsibility, self-control and problem-solving abilities can be developed and enhanced using equine therapy. Call Drug Treatment Centers Carteret today at (732) 226-8901.
Equine therapy has been successfully used to treat patients who suffer from substance abuse, alcohol addiction and drug abuse. It is also helpful for dual diagnosis patients.
For someone in substance abuse recovery treatment, animals can play an important role in healing. Interactions with horses have helped those with addictions to alcohol, cocaine, heroin and other drugs. This type of help for addiction is very useful to children and adolescents, who often bond more easily with animals. Horses are non-judgmental and therapy takes place in a nature and a relaxed atmosphere.
In 2012 in Carteret, NJ, there were 64 alcohol abuse center admissions for people over the age of 18. In total that year, 179 people were in substance abuse facilities of some type for dependency or addiction to alcohol, cocaine, heroin and opiates, marijuana and other drugs of choice.
For patients with a dual diagnosis, horse therapy addresses harmful issues and problems prevalent in many aspects of their lives. Dual diagnosis patients interact with horses and thereby bring their interpersonal psychological patterns to the forefront. The person’s deficits are identified by careful observation as patients interact with horses, allowing for a more individualized treatment plan.
Equine assisted therapy sessions are done with small groups of patients, usually less than a dozen. Therapists allow the patient to initiate interactions with the horses. They can then establish their own relationships with the animals. The nurturing and social interactions continue over the therapeutic session, as patients learn how to groom and harness animals and clean stalls. The patients may exercise the horses, and perhaps even ride them. These exercises refocus the patient toward a more productive goal, hopefully replacing the habits that lead to addiction.
A certified equine-assisted therapist and/or a trained professional therapist will guide the horse and patient into a mutually nurturing and trusting relationship on a gradual basis of exposure. After exposure to the horses, patients are usually given time to talk about their experience with their therapists in psychotherapy sessions, thus allowing a more individualized treatment plan to emerge for drug rehab and mental health treatment.
Trust is also a part of equine therapy. A patient builds a trusting relationship with a horse in a secure, relaxed environment. This connection can help build future relationships of trust with people later on, in order to prevent relapse for long-term sobriety.
This type of therapy allows patients to experience affection, assertiveness and the unconditional acceptance that an animal can provide. Patients also develop their communication skills, self-control, gain confidence and increase their feelings of empathy.
These therapeutic effects are successful in the treatment of many mental health disorders including anxiety, mood disorders, behavioral issues, psychological illnesses such as ADHD, autism and PTSD, and victims of violence or abuse.
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