The benefits of having animals in our lives are well documented. They offer comfort, companionship, unconditional love, and many other mental health benefits. Today, animals are used in several types of mental health treatment programs. Equine therapy is the practice of using horses to help people who are struggling with depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. It is a holistic approach that can reduce disruptive symptoms, improve emotional awareness, and increase social skills.
At 7 Summit Pathways, we understand the benefits of animal-assisted therapy. Therefore, we provide equine therapy programs for our patients who are struggling with a number of mental health disorders. When you first arrive at our facility, we will run a full assessment of your physical and mental health. Then, we’ll create a custom treatment program. You will work with an experienced behavioral therapist in group and private therapy sessions using a mix of behavioral and holistic therapies along with medicinal support. If you are interested in learning more about our specialty services in Tampa, call 813.212.7149 today to speak with one of our caring and knowledgeable team members.
What Is Equine Therapy?
Equine therapy is an experimental form of animal-assisted therapy that is quickly gaining in popularity. Research has proven that equine therapy and other forms of animal therapy release serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin, which promote relaxation and reduce stress levels. During equine therapy, patients work with specially-trained horses in a supervised environment where they will participate in caring for the horses. This can include grooming, feeding, haltering, and leading the horse in an enclosed arena and riding the horse in and around the barn.
Equine therapy has many benefits that can improve:
- Emotional awareness
- Social skills
- Impulse control
- Trust and empathy
- Problem-solving skills
The benefit of using horses to improve a person’s health is not a new concept. The Greek physician Hippocrates first documented the health benefits of riding horses in ancient Greece. Equine therapy began in the 1960s in the U.S. to assist patients with physical limitations. In 1969, the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association was started and is now known as the Professional Associate of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH).
How does equine therapy work? At 7 Summit Pathways, we will go over each step of your treatment program with you and answer any questions you have about the program. Our family-like facility provides outdoor therapy sessions in a group setting that can include equine therapy, nature hikes, and group discussions.
The Benefits of Participating in an Equine Therapy Program
Horses are large, majestic animals that are capable of forming close emotional relationships with the people that care for them. This emotional connection has proven to be very beneficial for people who are struggling with a number of mental health disorders. In fact, it can teach them empathy, compassion, and other important like-skills.
Here are some of the benefits of enrolling in equine therapy:
Horses can pick up on a person’s emotions and will react to those feelings. If the person is agitated, the horse can become apprehensive. This can be very beneficial in helping people understand how their feelings and behaviors can affect others. Equine therapy promotes self-awareness and empathy and can lead to building healthier relationships with others.
Improving Communication Skills
Communicating how you feel is not a natural skill. While working with horses, patients will talk about their feelings while working with the horses. The therapist points out how those feelings impact the animal and how other people can react in similar ways. This can go a long way toward teaching patients how they communicate with others is perceived and how to better communicate their feelings and desires.
Horses are emotive animals that will show different behaviors depending on who is working with them. During equine therapy, therapists will show patients how approaching the horse in a hostile or negative way can immediately affect the animal, which is the same for people. This can show people the importance of establishing boundaries with others so that they do not feel threatened or put in a situation that triggers their symptoms.
Find Specialty Services in Tampa for Treating Mental Health Disorders at 7 Summit Pathways
What is equine therapy, and how can it support your mental health? At 7 Summit Pathways, we will go over your treatment program with you and answer any questions you have about what to expect during therapy. Our programs include a mix of behavioral and holistic therapies that include:
- Equine therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Acupuncture therapy
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Trauma therapy
- Yoga therapy
- Anger management
- Family therapy /Counseling
- Nutrition education