There are many different types of addiction treatment, including outpatient treatment, residential treatment programs, day treatment programs, and behavioral therapies. Equine therapy is often used as an important part of rehab programs for people struggling with addiction.
At Riverside Recovery of Tampa, we incorporate equine therapy into our treatment programs to help our clients identify emotional, behavioral, and social challenges and develop skills like self-awareness, self-confidence, empathy, and insight.
What Is Equine Therapy?
Equine Therapy (also known as Equine Assisted Psychotherapy) uses horse interactions to navigate through emotional and behavioral challenges.
This type of therapy can be effective in a variety of situations for children, adolescents, adults, and older people. People who participate in equine-assisted psychotherapy while recovering from an addiction problem often experience significant life-changing improvements. It is often a small part of a more comprehensive treatment plan. It is especially useful when it comes to people who have not responded well to other methods of addiction treatment like therapy or counseling.
How Does Equine Therapy Work?
Equine therapy programs have become increasingly popular in recent years. The programs will vary depending on the treatment facility. They are often customized to meet the specific needs of the individual patient Individuals who attend a drug rehabilitation facility often participate in equestrian therapy. They also continue working on their recovery with their therapists and addiction counselors.
In equine therapy, an individual develops a close bond with the horse while taking good care of its basic needs and providing it with a safe environment. You can also learn how to saddle the horse. Some equine therapy programs do include riding, but others do not. Many of the horses utilized in therapeutic horseback riding programs are either too old for regular riding or have experienced injuries that make them unsuitable for ordinary riding.
Benefits of Equine Therapy in Addiction Rehab Treatment
Almost anyone can benefit from working with horses. Equine therapy is especially beneficial for people in addiction programs. Some of the following benefits include:
- non-verbal communication
- understanding boundaries
- increased confidence and self-acceptance
- emotional growth and empathy
- creating stronger interpersonal relationships and feeling a sense of community
- building trust
Working with horses has many benefits, but one of the most important is developing relationships. Horses are very sensitive to the people who work with them, so they’re similar to humans when it comes to interacting with them.
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Is Equine Therapy Effective?
Many studies have confirmed the benefits of equine therapy. Horseback riding has been used for therapeutic purposes since ancient times. Cats, dogs, and even guinea pigs have been used in different ways to improve mood/emotions and reduce stress. Horses, however, have become more popular in addiction treatment programs due to their instant response. Due to their intimidating size, people are often forced to gain trust from the animal and trust that the horse will not harm them.
There are several life lessons horses teach better than people. Equine therapy has been shown to be an effective treatment for people who suffer from mental illnesses and addictions.
Our Florida Equine Therapy Program for Substance Use Disorders
If you or your loved one suffered from substance abuse or has experienced a more difficult road to recovery, you may want to consider the benefits of equine-assisted therapy. Equine therapy can be very effective in helping people who are looking for ways to find meaning in their recovery or explore new hobbies and activities. It can also have a deep effect on behavior and thought patterns.
At Riverside Recovery of Tampa, equine therapy is just one of the holistic approaches we provide. To learn more about our continuum of care and equine therapy, contact our admissions team today.