Equine Therapy: How it helps with Substance Abuse Treatment

The term drug rehabilitation involves a combination of many forms of the treatment regimen. The treatment program can incorporate detoxification with drugs, behavioral and psychotherapy, residential or outpatient programs and much more. One of the popular treatment in Drug Rehab Centers in Florida these days is Equine therapy.

What is Equine Therapy?

Equine therapy is a treatment modality, which makes use of a horse in the treatment of many behavioral and psychosocial problems. It involves working with the horses or living in an equine environment to encourage emotional, physical, and occupational growth. Equine therapy is nothing new and dates back to the ancient Greeks. The Greek literature of yore has documented the therapeutic use of horses. The earliest affirmation of this modality of treatment was done by Orbasis of ancient Lydia who documented it in 600 B.C. The modern world accepted this treatment modality in 1946 after a poliomyelitis outbreak in Scandinavia.

What does it entail?

It requires creating a bond with the animal. Horses are gentle and sensitive animals and they reciprocate the feelings of their riders. Equine therapy revolves around this bonding and its beneficial effect to the patient. It has been seen to be effective when other treatment modalities have failed. The patient starts with just being around the horse, the mental health professional or equine certified assistant sets goals for the individual for each day and then the patient tries to complete it. After each session, the patient is encouraged to share his feelings, thoughts, elation, fear or problem that he or she experienced during the session. These interactions help in improving the communication between the patient, instructor and the animal thus cementing the bond between them. The therapy is like any other horse-riding tutorial where the rider gradually befriends the horse and over time goes on to ride it. It allows the patient to be around the animal for long hours so that both can bond and connect with each other.

Why is Equine therapy effective in Substance Abuse Treatment?

Equine therapy is becoming a common and popular practice at many Drug and Alcohol Treatment Centers. Many animals like dogs, cats, dolphins, horses and elephants have been used for therapeutic objectives. Among them, horses are the most successful as they are gentle, sensitive and bond well. Let us look at the reasons of their success.

* They identify feelings of melancholy in their handlers and reciprocate by giving them a nudge or push and drive them out from their despair. The equine assistants are trained to pick up hints of such kind from the animal and they can help the patient when they are depressed.

* Bonding works in a dramatic way in overcoming addiction. The patients have to care, feed and ride their horses thus inadvertently devoting the better part of the day to the animal. The bonding so created between them helps the patient emotionally in a way, which cannot be done with other therapies.

* The ritual of the therapy provides a focus to the patient. It drives them away from their self-destructive thoughts and habits. The task of caring for the horse enables them to take up responsibility and the reward of completing these tasks well is the self-confidence they acquire which helps in their rehab.

* The addicts are often ridiculed and this often leads to a feeling of self-loathing, lack of confidence and a feeling of failure. Equine therapy works in a structured way and the process leads them to bond and connect with their horse. The animal responds to them and provides them with unconditional affection and love, which can be very powerful and gratifying. The feeling of accomplishment can be huge and can push the patient to healing like nothing else.

* Behavioral management is a key to drug rehab. The violent, impulsive behavior of addicts drives them to self-harm. The holistic approach of the equine therapy and the connection of the patient with their animal can induce peace, calm and control in the patient.

There is no perfect plan or treatment that suits everyone. It is a routine developed on what is best for an individual. For many addicts, the treatment regime, which incorporates equine therapy, has shown tremendous results. Perhaps the purity and gentleness of this animal may be the success mantra of this treatment.

For more information visit www.blueskytreatment.com

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