Perhaps you have exhausted yourself in an attempt to recover from your PTSD or addiction and now you are just tired. Traditional therapy has not helped you (or at least, not as much as you had hoped) and it may feel as though you have reached an uphill battle. However, there are other options. Alternative therapy can have an enduring impact on your recovery. See how you can benefit from alternative therapies like equine therapy for PTSD and addiction.
What Are Alternative Therapies?
Traditional therapy for addiction is valuable, without a doubt, but so are alternative methods to conventional treatments. Alternative therapy, which is not necessarily intended to replace a treatment recommended by a doctor or mental health professional, can complement conventional therapy (one-on-one or group therapy) for the most effective recovery. Alternative therapy can include acupressure, acupuncture, art therapy, yoga therapy, equine therapy, nutritional therapy, hypnosis therapy, somatic psychotherapy, massage therapy, meditation, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western herbal medicine, and more. You may choose to take an alternative route if you do not agree with your provider’s approach, want to wean off psychiatric medication, you have tried traditional rehab and it did not work out, or you want additional treatments for your recovery plan.
What Is Equine Therapy?
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is an experiential therapy practice involving the interaction between horses, clients, and a therapist (or therapists). This alternative approach is intended to address your needs and reach your recovery treatment goals. In a session, clients are instructed to groom, lead, and feed the horses. During the interactions, therapists will observe your behavioral patterns, how you process emotions while with the horses, and inquire about your thoughts. With EAP, therapists hope you will develop accountability, responsibility, confidence, and problem-solving skills.
What Are the Benefits?
You can reap plenty of benefits from EAP. Because horses tend to be hypervigilant and can mirror temperaments, a horse will need to trust you and vice-versa. Requiring trust can be great for treating PTSD and substance abuse. As someone who is dealing with such conditions, you may be able to relate to the horse’s cautious nature. Together, you can learn to trust one another and build a fruitful relationship. When building a relationship, you will both have an increase in patience, love, respect. Furthermore, a horse will reveal a lot about you–things you are unaware of–when they mimic your body language. This can be, both, a surprising and revealing experience.
Additionally, when you interact with the horses during a therapy session you may end up feeling frustrated, defeated, or angry. These “negative” emotions can be gateways to discovering the root causes of trauma that may be responsible for your addiction. Or it can simply supply your therapists with new discussion points for you and them to go over during a session.
Ways equine therapy helps:
- Developing empathy
- Growing social responsibility
- Enhancing problem-solving skills
- Establishing impulse control
- Improving interpersonal relationships
- Increasing self-confidence
- Reconnecting to lost feelings
- Developing a sense of self-worth
- Bettering communication skills
- Improving leadership skills
- Reducing stress
Connecting with animals can be healing and can help you reach your treatment goals. For more information on equine therapy for PTSD and addiction, call (844) 663-4747.