Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP)
What is EAP?
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is a unique form of mental health therapy. Licensed Mental Health Professionals and Equine Specialists use horses to aid participants in learning and implementing adaptive responses to various life situations. Through specialized activities with the horses, participants develop the necessary tools to effectively meet their needs and respond to life dynamics in a positive and healthy manner. In EAP sessions the participants spend 90% of their time on the ground with the horses as the focus of EAP sessions is not riding, but achieving personal growth in a healthy and positive manner.
EAP is experiential in nature allowing participants to learn about themselves and others by engaging in activities and then discussing feelings, behaviors and patterns. An EAP session allows the participant to “play out” their life dynamics in sessions which invites the treatment team to observe and be a part of the participant’s life experiences. EAP sessions are also active and fun which allows the participants to internalize session topics and skills in less time than traditional therapy. Participants actively try different outcomes to problems during the session which encourages participants to be/find themselves. Participants also define their own success. The focus of EAP involves setting up activities involving horses which will require the individual or group to apply certain skills such as: Non-verbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking and problem solving, leadership, work, taking responsibility, teamwork and relationships, confidence, positive coping responses and self-regulation.
Increased Self Confidence
Positive Coping Skill Development
Social Skill Development
Why Use Horses?
Horses exhibit personalities, attitudes and moods, as unique as people. This dynamic provides endless experiences and situations for discussion, analysis, and learning. In an EAP session, the horses are used as metaphors in the session activities to build life skills and to promote the exploration of behaviors.
Horses offer unconditional friendship, experience a wide range of feelings, and provide immediate, honest, observable feedback in response to our interactions with them. Horses are sensitive to nonverbal stimulus, which makes them astute therapeutic guides. They are social beings that bring us insight into group dynamics and our individual roles we play in our daily lives.
Who is Appropriate for Sessions?
EAP is appropriate for individuals ages 7-65. EAP sessions are designed for individuals, families, couples and groups. No horse expierence is needed. EAP addresses a variety of mental health needs which include: ADHD, pervasive developmental disorders, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, abuse issues, eating disorders, relationship dynamics, learning disabilities and social difficulties.