DON'T ALWAYS HAVE TWO LEGS...
have long been recognized as a valuable tool to mankind. The use
of horses in a professional therapeutic setting, however, is fairly
recent. Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is a dawning discipline
in which horses are utilized to create a therapeutic setting employing
an experiential, action-based, counseling model. In EAP, a clinical
professional and a certified and specifically trained horse professional
work to co-facilitate a therapeutic process together with the clients.
EAP activity is designed with a specific objective and underlying
theme. Therapy sessions do not focus on horsemanship
skills, leisure or entertainment. EAP is therapeutic in nature;
the horse is employed as a therapy assistant. The client is on horseback
only for specific exercises and is always closely supervised. Each
session is unique due to group dynamics and individual horse and
human characteristics. Dynamics brought out by the activity are
discussed at the end of each session in the debriefing time.
have an underlying ability to heal and teach. They present unconditional
acceptance, experience a variety of emotions, and deliver immediate
feedback that is observable and honest. Horses are sensitive to
nonverbal stimulus and therefore provide valuable and visible lessons
in nonverbal communication and body language. As social beings,
horses are able to deliver insight into group roles and dynamics.