More rehab centers now offer animal-assisted therapies to treat drug addiction. Equine assisted therapy is one of the most popular and well-researched types of these therapies. In fact, it has strong support as a treatment for many mental health disorders. As such, it makes a great complement to traditional addiction treatment methods.

What Is Equine Therapy?

During drug rehab equine therapy helps patients develop patience.

Formally called equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP), this treatment uses horses in recovery exercises. It often includes role-reversal and role-playing activities to reveal an individual’s hidden emotions and thoughts.

EAP is an experiential therapy because it uses alternative means to help clients work through repressed emotions. Because of that, it’s very useful for mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and alcohol, and other drug addiction.

Who Performs the Therapy?

Physicians, nurses, and therapists need the right training and licenses to perform any addiction treatment. These requirements are the same for equine therapy. However, they also need special training with horses.

On top of that, the horses meet several standards related to their temperament and well-being, including proper preparation and obedience training. The purpose is to make sure that the therapy is effective and safe for the animals and clients.

Also, clients participating in equine-assisted therapy complete an orientation to learn boundaries with the horses. It’s important that they understand that the horses aren’t always open to engaging in therapy. Again, the goal here is to keep everyone safe.

The Benefits of EAP for Addiction Recovery

Equine therapy connection encourages clients to complete their residential treatment. EAT bolsters even stronger therapeutic alliances between the therapists and clients. Studies show that strong relationships naturally make clients committed to completing their addiction treatment programs.  

The effects that horses have on client health are also beneficial. According to research, the animals can change how the body responds to stress. For example, their blood pressure may not rise in stressful situations when it would have otherwise.

Being around horses increases clients’ physical activity, improving other health indicators. Furthermore, equine therapy can improve mood, confidence, communication, and social skills. These effects aid the healing process during addiction recovery and support ongoing sobriety afterward.

Treating Co-occurring Disorders

Equine therapy provides a specific, experiential element that is hard for traditional therapies to duplicate. It can reduce self-doubt, anxiety, and sadness. For those seeking trauma resolution, developing relationships with horses can help some clients learn how to trust others again. This aspect of equine therapy is very beneficial for clients who struggle to open up in regular therapy sessions.

Only Part of Addiction Treatment

Although EAP offers many benefits for treating addiction, it’s not a standalone recovery method. It needs to be part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Those who want to overcome addiction need detox, traditional therapy, and aftercare too.

Take Advantage of EAP at Santé Center for Healing

Santé Center for Healing collaborates with a local nonprofit who partners rescued horses that have experienced abuse and neglect with clients in deep psychotherapy counseling sessions. 

When you decide to get addiction help, Santé Center for Healing can provide a full spectrum of support, and equine assisted therapy can be one of the many treatment elements utilized in your customized plan. 

Our recovery continuum of care spans detox, residential, intensive outpatient, and alumni support in Argyle, Texas. Our staff of psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, certified addiction nurses, and all masters level therapists truly care and are committed to providing the tools for long-term recovery. 

We create customized treatment plans and could include equine assisted therapy in your plan. However, we offer many other addiction therapy services too, including:

Stop letting addiction, mental health, and unresolved trauma control and ruin your life. Learn how you can overcome it and enjoy long-term recovery with the help of equine therapy. Call Santé Center for Healing at 866.238.3154 to take the first step toward a life of sobriety.


*Due to COVID-19, we are unable to provide equine therapy services at this time. When circumstances allow, the program will be available