Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (or EAP) is a specially devised programme where interactive experiences with horses are used to help people address their personal issues and to encourage emotional and personal development.
By working alongside the horses (rather than riding them), participants learn about themselves and others; the interactive experiences and process sessions help them to understand their feelings, emotions and behaviours, and look at the patterns behind those behaviours.
EAP can help people communicate, develop fine motor skills, learn to approach problems in new ways, and it can foster understanding and compassion for diverse people and animals.
The Equus programme is a model approved by the Equine Assisted Growth & Learning Association (EAGALA), the professional body in this treatment field. Sessions are facilitated by a qualified therapist together with a horse professional and the horses, collectively referred to as the Treatment Team.
Benefits have been well documented and include:
- Increased self-esteem and confidence
- Anger and anxiety management
- Relationship building skills
- Ability to face fears/challenges
- Increased communication (verbal & non-verbal) skills
- Increase in awareness of healthy, safe personal boundaries
- Increased assertiveness
- Increased ability to accept and manage situations as they are
- Teamwork and cooperation
“I came away each time with something – from being able to tackle situations and use what was learned in my everyday life, to just sometimes getting an overwhelming sense of calm and peace of mind, that my fears were founded but able to be overcome.
“It has increased my ability to communicate effectively and accept situations as they really are.”
“I feel everything I have learned can be transferred to my life – boundaries, assertiveness skills, overcoming fear and challenging tasks, working as a team member and working on my own, being the leader and being the one taking directions from others…”
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