What is Equine Assisted Psychotherapy?
EAP is not therapeutic horseback riding. Therapeutic horseback riding focuses on the physical therapeutic benefits to the rider that come from the movement and the motion of riding the horse.
Why horses?Horses are a powerful therapeutic partner because of their unique ability to read people's behaviors and emotions. Due to horses being prey animals, they are sensitive to a person’s emotions and energy and will immediately respond to nonverbal behavior. The ability of the horse to act as a mirror provides you instant feedback about how your emotions, behaviors, and physical movements are being seen.
Why should I try EAP?Horses, the outdoor element, and the experiential side of doing EAP activities, all combine to engage you in different ways than what might take place in a typical office talk therapy setting.
EAP being experiential allows many people to learn and change by “doing” as opposed to only “talking.” EAP allows you to make changes and practice new things “in the moment.” Due to this experiential format, issues that can take several sessions to come up in traditional therapy can come to light faster with equine therapy.
Most psychotherapies are focused on verbal content while Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) emphasizes the non-verbal components that come up naturally when working with horses.
EAP takes you out of your element and challenges your conception of what therapy should be, making it easier to let down your guard and simply interact with the horses.
Who is EAP for?EAP works well for people with anxiety, depression, grief/loss, and stress. It can help build self-awareness, self-development, mindfulness, self-esteem, and assist people in reaching personal and professional goals.
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 will lead to developing an individualized treatment plan to reach your goals.
During a session, you are asked to perform a specific activity on the ground utilizing a horse or horses. Horses provide feedback during the activity relating to your current situation. We will then carefully examine the feedback and analyze the interactions between the horse and yourself. We will then explore how to apply the lessons learned in the arena to your current life situation.
I do not know anything about horses- will this be helpful?Yes. No horse experience is required and all activities are conducted on the ground (no riding).
How do you do virtual equine therapy?Horses can be implemented and be effective in a therapy session even if it is not in person. Through utilizing a variety of media (live streaming, video, photos) a connection with horses can be made.
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. Since the sessions are held in a large arena- this allows the horse to walk away which is their natural instinct.
I will never have you do anything that your feel uncomfortable doing.
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. Click the appointment box to schedule now and I will help you move forward.