Medical detox, residential treatment programs, and various forms of therapy are some of the most effective options available in drug rehab treatment centers. However, one method of addiction therapy that is often overlooked in favor of more traditional practices is equine therapy. Many individuals in recovery find that equine therapy for addiction is a severely underutilized drug treatment— so much so that it’s been growing in popularity over recent years and is now offered at a number of treatment centers across the country.
What Exactly is Equine Therapy?
Equine therapy is a form of treatment that uses horses to promote the redevelopment of mental and emotional health as part of a larger treatment plan. In fact, equine therapy may succeed in furthering the healing process where other treatments have failed. The use of animals in therapy is not a new concept, but there are benefits to equine therapy for addiction treatment that make it one of the best means of substance abuse recovery.
Like many other addiction therapy programs, equine therapy is usually personalized to fit the needs of an individual patient. Typically, the recovering addicts at the treatment center have the freedom to spend time with a horse each day in conjunction with their other therapies and addiction counseling. While spending time with the horse, the addict in recovery can practice responsibility and perform certain tasks (under supervision) like feeding and grooming. Riding or learning to ride is not usually a part of equine therapy since many therapy horses have been retired and no longer ride.
Who Benefits from Equine Therapy?
Equine therapy is a method of treatment that isn’t exclusive to one age or gender group over another. In fact, it is a practice that is used to treat individuals across many different psychological spectrums. It is effective for all demographics from children to adults and has been known to yield overwhelmingly positive results. In addiction recovery treatment, equine therapy can be especially helpful for those who suffer from addiction to:
- Prescription drugs
Both men and women can benefit from equine therapy for addiction recovery. You don’t even have to be experienced with horses beforehand in order to get the most out of your recovery experience. All you need is dedication to rebuilding your mental and physical health.
The Benefits of Equine Therapy
Equine therapy for addiction recovery not only provides a new focus for recovering addicts but also offers a sense of responsibility and a solid routine. These treatments combined with other programs allow patients to really examine their lives, their choices, the consequences of their actions, and their future, ultimately allowing for personal growth.
Equine therapy doesn’t just help with addiction treatment, either. For patients who are dealing with a mental disorder on top of their addiction, equine therapy can ease the symptoms. Working with horses can have a positive influence on those suffering from co-existing conditions like:
- Anxiety disorders
- Behavioral disorders
How is this possible? Well, since horses are pack animals, they have an enhanced sense of empathy and are especially sensitive to the feelings of other creatures. Horses are able to detect when a person is feeling happy, sad, scared, angry, or nervous. This is part of why equine therapy is a useful method of healing for people recovering from substance addiction. Additional benefits of equine therapy for addiction recovery include:
- Improved communication
- Inner reflection
- Leadership skills development
- Overcoming fear
- Problem-solving skills development
- Relationship skills development
- Trust building
Equine Therapy for Addiction at The Lilly Pad
Equine therapy for addiction treatment is one of the most effective methods of getting sober. When paired with traditional therapy and addiction counseling, equine therapy can help you build the skills you need to live a fulfilling, drug-free life with confidence. At the Lilly Pad of St. Augustine, we are proud to offer equine therapy for anything looking to share their recovery with one of the world’s gentlest animals. If you or someone you care about is struggling with substance addiction and would like more information about equine therapy for addiction recovery, please call us at 561-758-1011.