Equine Therapy Program for Teens
Many struggling teens are resistant to treatment. Equine therapy programs help to break down barriers and open teens' hearts and minds to healing.
Horses are social animals. Like people, horses respond well to compassionate, assertive behavior. But horses react to fear or aggression by becoming skittish. The way horses respond to your teen is a valuable teaching tool.
Because horses respond to people's emotional states, working with horses allows students to learn to recognize their own emotions. Therapists can also learn from the way that your teen interacts with the horses.
In Equine Therapy, the teenagers have a task to complete. They also have to follow specific rules. The task itself is less important than the teamwork and problem-solving skills involved. The students themselves decide the consequences for breaking the rules.
After they complete the task, the students discuss their thoughts and feelings. They talk about what they learned from the experience.
Working with horses can also help girls and teens assigned female at birth to develop empathy. For example, if a horse becomes difficult to work with, this will lead to a discussion. Trying to guide a challenging horse can be like trying to guide a challenging teen. So, these discussions can lead to empathy towards parents and other adults.
Also, because horses are large, some teens find them intimidating. Therapists work with students to overcome their apprehensiveness. Through this process, teens develop emotional coping skills. The skills they develop not only help with Equine Therapy but other challenges, like dealing with depression, anxiety, or trauma. Teenagers learn to deal with life situations no matter how large or intimidating.
Equine therapy helps bring issues to the surface faster than traditional therapy alone. The opportunities they have to practice emotional regulation lead to faster improvement.
Moreover, teenagers remember experiences more profoundly than simple conversations. Therefore, the experience they have in Equine Therapy leaves a lasting impression. The memorable nature of the experiences contributes to students' future successes.
Equine Therapy Helps Teens Overcome Treatment Resistance and Enables Them to Engage in Treatment
Your child will have the opportunity to take part in Equine Therapy. Many struggling teens are resistant to treatment. Equine Therapy helps to break down barriers.
In equine therapy, a mental health professional and a horse professional work together. They guide the person receiving treatment through therapeutic activities. Activities are often tailored to address the needs of the person in treatment.
Often, participants will be given tasks to perform. The actual tasks are not the purpose of the activities. The experiences, emotional expressions, and problem-solving skills that the participants demonstrate during equine therapy are the genuine reasons for this form of treatment.
Equine therapy may be used to treat emotional and behavioral problems. This article will discuss how equine therapy can improve emotional development, in particular building confidence. It will also address why insight gained through experiential therapy tends to be more memorable than insight gained from talk therapy alone.
How Can Equine Therapy Improve Emotional Development?
People struggling with mental health issues often do not know how to handle emotions. Learning how to cope with emotions is vital to successful mental health treatment. Equine therapy has helped many people learn to understand and process their feelings. Horses sense and respond to people’s emotions. Even if someone is not aware of what they are feeling, a horse will be able to sense it.
Horses are social creatures. They innately focus on social structure within a herd. When humans are involved in equine therapy, they become like a member of the herd. Horses use their whole bodies to communicate and non-verbally express themselves, which is why it's so important for humans to be aware of the body language and how it can change depending on their mood. Besides being majestic animals, horses are also prey animals. They are highly focused on the other creatures around them out of a sense of self-preservation. This includes other animals nearby or in the area, as well as people who may be nearby.
Horses are extremely attentive to the people around them. This quality allows for therapeutic insight because horses provide an excellent mirror to what people are feeling. Furthermore, horses can also sense when something is wrong with their owner and they can use their posture to show this awareness. When people are angry or aggressive, horses become stubborn. When people are anxious, horses become skittish. When people are calm, then horses are calm.
Often, people involved in equine therapy come to understand themselves better. Seeing the way horses respond to them enables people to finally see themselves. Working with horses can also help develop empathy. For example, if a horse becomes challenging to work with, this will lead to a discussion. Trying to guide a problematic horse can be like trying to guide a difficult teen. So, these discussions can lead to empathy towards parents and other adults.
How Does Equine Therapy Encourage Confidence?
For some people, a horse’s size can make them imposing. People beginning equine therapy may fear the horse could hurt them. These fears may bring up feelings of lack of control, feelings of inadequacy, or even past trauma. Equine therapy encourages people to learn to tolerate and process these feelings.
During equine therapy, people learn to face their fears in a safe environment. As they do, they develop the confidence they need to overcome challenges. The confidence gained during equine therapy can help people in their daily lives. Most people who engage in equine therapy come to care for and respect horses. Horses cannot judge, blame, lie, or manipulate. They are straightforward and gentle. Therefore, they are excellent therapeutic partners.
How Do Horses Advance the Therapeutic Process?
Equine therapy helps bring issues to the surface faster than traditional talk therapy. Because horses act as a mirror to people’s emotional state, working with horses makes it more difficult to put up barriers and hide their emotions from their therapists or themselves.
Because they are more emotionally open, individuals involved in equine therapy have more success in recognizing their strengths and weaknesses. The opportunities they have to practice emotional regulation lead to faster improvement.
Working with horses creates an engaging challenge that people remember more profoundly than conversations in talk therapy. Therefore, the experience they have in equine therapy leaves a lasting impression.
At Discovery Ranch South, equine therapy is one of a variety of forms of experiential therapy. Experiential therapy guides participants through real-life experiences designed to promote personal insight.