Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is an experiential approach to counseling designed to help clients identify and work through life issues using interactions with horses.
In EAP sessions, individuals, families, or groups work with horses in a variety of activities with the goal of improving psychological health and promoting personal growth. Equine therapy does not typically involve riding and is usually used in conjunction with traditional office sessions to aid in processing and integrating material from equine activities into everyday life and relationships.
Research has shown EAP to be effective in fostering learning and development as well as treating a variety of issues including:
- attentional problems
- substance abuse
- self esteem
- relationship struggles
Clinical evidence and generations of human experience show that horses have a special ability to help people work through emotional barriers without shame or stigma. Horses are large and powerful, creating a natural opportunity for overcoming fear & gaining confidence through interaction with them. Like humans, horses are social & have distinct personalities, attitudes, and roles within their herds. When we learn about our relationships with them, we also learn to improve our relationships with others.
Horses reflect our true selves by reading our nonverbal cues. This allows them to offer honest feedback and usable information on the attitudes and behavior of the people working with them. When we change how we are communicating, the horse’s response changes, providing instant and accurate feedback and insight into a person’s thoughts and feelings.
Interacting with horses impacts us physically, emotionally, and mentally. Life lessons take deeper root when they are both understood in the mind and experienced in the body. EAP sessions are engaging, real time, and hands on. Horses innately offer a pure, nonjudgmental relationship which can foster trust and allow for relational healing.
Services Fees and Scheduling
The counselors at Counseling Associates offer individual, family, couples, and group equine-assisted therapy sessions as an adjunct to traditional therapy on a seasonal basis. Equine therapy sessions are covered by insurance companies in the same way as traditional therapy sessions. An additional $30/hr facility fee is charged for each equine session to offset the cost of maintaining the horses and equine facility. We also offer team-building equine-assisted group experiences with cost determined on a case-by-case basis.