Horses are intuitive animals that are well suited to assist us in our own growth and healing processes. Since I was a child, I have worked with horses and am thrilled to have the opportunity to combine psychotherapy with horses through my contracted work at Medicine Horse Program (www.medicinehorse.org). Talk therapy can be challenging for a variety of reasons. Working with horses can be a great way for those who struggle to sit through a face-to-face talk therapy session to still work on healing and growth.
As prey animals, horses teach us to be alert and aware of our surroundings while simultaneously being relaxed and at ease. Animals are often viewed as safer and more approachable than humans. Their presence in the therapy setting can help people to relax and open up. Horses are honest teachers that respond to what is happening in the present moment. This orientation to the present moment allows us to reflect on our own interactions and behaviors in real time.
Equine assisted therapy requires no previous horse experience. It can involve some light riding although much of the work is done on the ground (grooming, feeding, herd observation, etc.). Equine assisted therapy works well for people struggling with anxiety, depression, relationship and attachment issues, emotion regulation, identity based issues, trauma, and more.