Equine therapy or more commonly known as Equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) is gaining more popularity here in the United States and in other countries. For anyone who isn’t familiar with this method of therapy or mental health treatment, it involves activities with horses and/or other members of the horse family. This is not about riding a horse to feel better, this is understanding what it takes to care for a horse and in the process of doing so, people find value in what equine therapy means.
Equine therapy can be considered a form of therapy with animals, that is spending time with animals to be exact. So, imagine how would you feel when taking care of your beloved pet, may it be a dog, a cat, or even a horse.
Here are the 5 benefits of Equine Therapy for your mental health
More self-confidence and self-trust
A horse specialist is mostly present during EAPs and is working with a mental health professional. Participants or clients learn how to take care of the horse and just how much effort it requires. There have been reports that throughout the process, people gain more self-confidence and self-trust because of the value they get when learning. And also, it is no easy task to take care of a horse. Even harder to build a bond with it.
Through EAPs, people are able to handle their emotions and feelings much better resulting in them reacting better. Many people engage in this activity to reduce their anxiety and transform all of it into positive energy. It is not just anxiety, there are also reports saying EAP can reduce depression and isolation.
When caring for a horse, one must be patient, understanding, and kind. Empathy is all about understanding other people’s feelings. As a result, you can be more understanding of other people’s feelings and the things they are going through. Instead of jumping to conclusions that support only you or your argument, you become more selfless and you better connect with people emotionally. Emotional intelligence these days is very important no matter where you are. According to Lesley University, people with high levels of empathy “are more likely to function well in society.” The ability to empathize can inspire others to strive for the same.
Improve problem-solving skills
Again, taking care of a horse, even for just one day is not easy. It isn’t as simple as putting food out at a bowl or going on walks. There is more to it. Equine Therapy can help people improve their problem-solving skills because the activity itself encourages them to go out of their comfort zones. Equine Therapy helps an individual focus and be more receptive to what is going on in his or her environment. In other words, it enables you to be more mindful, hence, better at not only solving problems but also finding ones.
In some rehabilitation facilities across the US, horse therapy is a big deal. It is more common among facilities that are established at a barn or farmlands. Equine Therapy is considered experiential in drug rehabs. Experiential treatments involve real-life experiences that promote healing and growth among people struggling with addiction.
Nowadays, we are seeing the rise of these different therapies because of more evidence supporting their effectiveness. Just like EAP, art therapy is becoming more common for many people dealing with mental health issues. Others are relying on more traditional methods like a healthy diet to improve their mental health. No matter the method or therapy, the important thing is for you to be mindful of your mental health.