An entire subgroup of therapy has sprouted from an understanding of the potential for emotional growth through human-animal interaction. Equine therapy, which utilizes interactions with horses, has been proven to be effective in helping to treat ADD, anxiety, autism, depression, trauma, and many other behavioral and mental health issues. The therapeutic benefits of horseback riding have been known since the time of Ancient Greece, but it wasn’t until 1947 that horseback riding became recognized as an effective therapeutic technique. Since then, psychologists have realized that many other types of interactions, such as horse care, grooming, and saddling, are helpful in inspiring emotional growth and understanding. Horses, specifically, are used for their ability to pick up on human emotions. According to Equestrian Therapy: Horse Therapy for Children and Adults with Special Needs, “Horses are the most popularly used animal for therapy although elephants, dolphins, cats and dogs may also be used. This is because, horses have the ability to respond immediately and give feedback to the rider’s action or behavior. Horses are also able to mirror the rider’s emotion. The basis of the therapy is that because horses behave similarly like human beings do in their social and responsive behavior; it is always easy for patients to establish connection with the horse.” These interactions allow a client to develop an emotional connection with the horse, allowing the client to learn about developing trust, effective communication skills, and his or her own sense of self-worth and self-confidence. Equine Psychotherapy provides an example of one of these types of interactions: “the instructor will have the horse stand in the middle of the arena. The youth are supposed to get the horse to move outside of a large circle without touching the horse at all. Many of the students often clap, whistle, yell all to no avail. Lessons are taught that when others, be it parents, friends, counselors or associates try and get us to do something the best way is probably not yelling, clapping, or forcing.” Through these forms of engagement with animals, we can gain a greater understanding of what we can or cannot control, and learn to effectively communicate in a safe environment. Many men and women enter into treatment with issues stemming from past trauma, depression, anxiety, and other mental health concerns. Equine therapy gives the opportunity for a person to work through these issues in an emotionally safe and stable environment.
“When you change your story, you change your life”. That’s the motto of Oceanfront Recovery, a men’s treatment center in Orange County, California. Oceanfront offers a variety of treatment methods and techniques, including equine therapy, hiking, and yoga, all set against the beautiful backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. For more information about treatment programs, call today: (877) 279-1777