Animal therapy is a conventional treatment method used in rehabilitation programs due to the many benefits it offers. These therapy animals provide a safe space for people to learn basic yet necessary emotional, social, mental and motor skills. In honor of the National Day of the Horse on December 13, here are some benefits of equine therapy in addiction recovery.
First, horses provide low-stress social interaction. While in recovery, it may be difficult to socialize with others who are going through the program. Therapy horses are perfect for practicing responsibility, self-confidence, and self-respect. Relationships built with the horse require trust, consistency, and honesty, much like with human relationships. Because horses are patient, they provide a perfect opportunity to practice these skills.
Next, horses require responsibility and hard work. Manual labor such as mucking stalls, feeding, and exercising them is a great stress reliever. These tasks allow individuals going through rehabilitation to get outside of themselves to care for another being. The challenges and issues they are facing in therapy may be set aside for a moment while caring for the horses, which offers a healthy perspective on their situation.
Finally, equine therapy allows individuals to learn impulse control and emotional management. Because horses are highly attuned to emotions and moods, they cannot be easily fooled. They also can become stubborn when they feel their handler is not treating them fairly. For this reason, horses help others learn how to regulate their emotions and adapt to another’s needs. This can be very helpful in therapy, as individuals must learn how to take other’s needs into account and adjust accordingly. It allows them to be honest with both themselves and others to promote a healthier way of interacting.
If you or a loved one struggles with substance abuse, do not hesitate to call us today at (888) 238-1038 for a free and confidential addiction assessment. Our trained treatment specialists are on call to provide you with insurance verification and a customized treatment plan suited to your unique needs. You are not alone in the fight against addiction.
“The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact
with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit and freedom.” -Sharon Ralls Lemon