Equine therapy can be a transformative experience during drug and alcohol rehab treatment. Using drug rehabilitation horses enables participants to learn about themselves and others through their interactions with a horse partner. During addiction treatment at PaRC, we take a trip to a ranch each week for drug rehab equine therapy. After equine therapy, everyone is provided feedback about their interaction with the horses and helps identify lessons that are directly applicable to their life and relationships.
What to Expect of Drug Rehab Equine Therapy: Learning the Ropes
During equine alcohol and drug rehab counseling, you are encouraged to interact with the horse through petting, grooming and talking—no horseback riding is involved. Those participating work with their horse throughout the session and then meet as a group to process feelings, behaviors and patterns experienced while participating in the activities.
While working alongside the horses, someone may feel a connection with the animal that they don’t feel with individuals in their lives. During this “bonding” experience, the horse serves as a facilitator of conversation and provides a safe place to practice exploring and expressing feelings.
Drug rehab equine therapy helps people gain insights into areas such as how they approach new situations and problems, how they communicate and gain the cooperation of others (or how they don’t as the case may be), how they use their energy and resources, how well they tolerate frustration or not knowing, and how effectively they work together as a group.
Equine Therapy for Self-Development
Using equine therapy during drug treatment provides opportunities to enhance self-awareness, develop feelings of self-love and allow people to grow, process and heal. This unique approach to drug rehab counseling addresses a variety of mental health and human development needs that are sometimes present in those dealing with substance abuse, including behavioral issues, attention deficit disorder, PTSD, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, relationship problems and communication needs. Some people are intimidated by horses and hesitant to participate in equine therapy. By working through the fear, individuals gain insight and realize they can overcome other fears and challenges in life.
Drug rehabilitation horses also facilitates the development of:
- Assertive communication
- Leadership and problem-solving skills
- Self-confidence and self-awareness
- Work ethic
- Healthy relationships
- Awareness of non-verbal communication
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