What is Equine Assisted Psychotherapy?

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is a treatment modality in which the horse is a partner in the therapy process, promoting growth and positive change.

Through non-riding activities you learn to overcome and conquer any challenges you may be experiencing.  

Why horses?

Horses are a powerful therapeutic partner because of their unique ability to read people's emotions.  As prey animals, horses are sensitive to human emotions and energy, immediately responding to nonverbal signals.  Thus, the horse acts as a mirror, providing instant feedback about how you are perceived.

Why should I try EAP?

The experiential nature of doing EAP activities with horses engages you in different ways than what takes place in a typical talk therapy setting.

Experiential work allows many people to learn and change by doing as opposed to only talking.  EAP allows you to make changes and practice new responses “in the moment.”  Due to this experiential format, issues that can take many sessions to come up in traditional therapy can come to light faster with equine therapy.

Most psychotherapies are focused on verbal content while EAP emphasizes the non-verbal components that come up naturally when working with horses.

EAP takes you out of your element, challenging your conceptions of what therapy is, making it easier to let your guard down to simply interact with the horses.

Who is EAP for?

EAP can assist people in reaching personal and professional goals. EAP is also helpful for building self-awareness, self-development, mindfulness, and self-esteem.

What does an equine therapy session look like?

During the first meeting, an assessment is conducted to determine a shared understanding of your needs, which leads to developing an individualized treatment plan to reach your goals.

During a session, you will perform a specific activity on the ground utilizing a horse or horses. ​The horse(s) provide feedback during the activity.  We then carefully examine the feedback and analyze the interactions between you and the horse.  Then we explore how to apply the lessons learned in the arena to your current life situation.

I do not know anything about horses- will EAP be helpful?

Horse experience is not required and all activities are conducted on the ground.

Horses are large powerful animals; how do you address safety concerns?

There is always a level of risk when working around horses. However, the risk is reduced because there is no riding involved and because the horse(s) are free in the arena. Horses, by nature, are not aggressive – their first line of defense is to move away from stress or danger.

I am ready to get started. What do I do next?

I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation to see if I am the right psychologist for you based on your needs. Please note Dr. Steidle is full and temporarily not accepting new clients. Please check back to this site regularly for availability updates