More rehab centers now offer animal-assisted therapies to treat drug addiction. Equine therapy is one of the most popular and well-researched types. 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?
Formally equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP), this treatment uses horses in recovery exercises. It often includes role-reversal and role-playing activities to reveal 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 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 have to meet several standards related to their temperament and well-being. They also need 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 must agree to participate in EAP and complete an orientation first. They have to learn which parts of the horses that they can touch. 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
The main benefit of equine therapy is that it encourages clients to complete rehab through strong therapeutic alliances. This term refers to the relationships between the therapists and clients. Studies show that strong relationships naturally make clients stay in addiction treatment programs. Horses tend to give these relationships a boost, improving the effectiveness of treatment overall.
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 and can lower their cholesterol levels too. Furthermore, equine therapy can improve their moods and confidence. They tend to develop better communication and social skills as well. These effects aid the healing process during addiction recovery and support ongoing sobriety afterward.
Treating Co-occurring Disorders
A majority of people with drug addiction also have another mental health problem. Experts refer to this state as having co-occurring disorders. The reason that both develop is that drug abuse and addiction can lead to other mental problems. The opposite can also occur.
Trauma, for instance, is a very common cause of drug use. People who suffer trauma can develop anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses. When they self-medicate with drugs instead of getting expert treatment, they develop a substance use disorder.
Equine therapy provides a specific element that traditional therapies can’t duplicate. It can reduce self-doubt, anxiety, and sadness. For trauma, developing relationships with horses can help some clients learn how to trust others again. This aspect 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
When you decide to get addiction help, Santé Center for Healing can provide a full spectrum of support. Our detox and rehab center in Argyle, Texas, employs a team of doctors, nurses, and therapists who truly care. We create customized treatment plans and could include EAP in your plan. However, we offer many other addiction therapy services too, including:
- Trauma therapy
- Dialectical behavior therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Art and music therapy
- Ropes courses
- Massage and yoga
In addition, Santé Center for Healing emphasizes family support during in addiction recovery. We provide education courses about addiction and family assistance. Your family and friends can also join our support group, which meets three times a week.
Stop letting addiction 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.