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Equine Thearpy Aids Treatments for Mental Health - Mended Hearts

Equine-Assisted Therapy Aids Treatment For Addiction, Mental Health

Several treatment centers in the U.S. have seen stunning progress with patients who participate in equine-assisted psychotherapy. Encouraging patients to bond with horses on the farm challenges the treatment recipients to view the world and themselves differently.

This form of therapy centers the patients, helping lower their heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels. Difficult-to-achieve recovery goals come a little easier to patients who connect with the horses during equine-assisted therapy.

When a person suffering from mental health problems slows down, looks into a horse’s eyes and has the opportunity to take care of another intelligent living being, the process fuels remarkable breakthroughs. Equine-assisted therapy helps these patients develop skills for a healthier lifestyle, such as how to appropriately identify and cope with feelings.

Horses help strip away feelings of depression and anxiety, leaving room for patients to feel other, more positive emotions. With this clarity and enlightenment comes helpful recovery epiphanies.

Many people with mental health illnesses and/or addictions have been conditioned by their experiences to believe that feelings are a bad thing. They cannot cope with their thoughts and feelings, and thus turn to substances.

Equine-assisted therapy doesn’t require patients to use their minds to solve problems. Instead, patients rely on their hearts and feelings during their sessions with the horses, learning how to react in the moment in a healthy way. When used with traditional therapy sessions, equine-assisted therapy can be incredibly beneficial.

Horses are more sensitive to emotions than other animals. Someone afraid of horses, for example, can put the horse on edge. If someone is angry or aggressive, the horse can react with stubbornness. When someone who is calm approaches, the horse responds similarly.

This open reaction to emotions can help those recovering from drug or alcohol addictions see themselves more clearly, and help them work toward making an inner change.

Horses are large animals, and they require a certain level of confidence and responsibility from the person who grooms, feeds and walks them. When patients successfully tackle their fears and engage in these activities, they can experience boosts in:

  • Self-esteem
  • Focus
  • Concentration
  • Empowerment
  • Happiness

Instead of feeling like an outcast, patients feel needed and important. Taking care of and spending quality time with a horse promotes self-awareness and non-verbal communication skills. It encourages patients to improve themselves first, and then work on improving interpersonal relationships. http://www.addictionhope.com