Horse Therapy as a Holistic Means of Recovering
Horses have been an integral part of recovery for those struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. What many people do not realize is that horses are very much like people in their qualities and characteristics. Just like human beings are social creatures, so are horses. Equine therapy has proven to significantly assist individuals in making a breakthrough in their recovery.
Equine therapy has proven to lower blood pressure, reduce heart rate, relieve stress, and mitigate symptoms associated with depression and anxiety.
The following are various skills that can be developed during equine therapy:
- Recognize and Manage Feelings
Those who abuse drugs or alcohol are often used to numbing the feeling of pain. They may use drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism in order to deal with past trauma in an attempt to suppress feelings of anger or depression. Equine therapy can help individuals to get more in tune with their thoughts. Horses have a strong sense of emotion and can sense when an individual is happy, sad, scared, or depressed. When the individual approaches the horse in a calm manner, the horse will reciprocate those auras. When the response is noticed by the individual, they become more aware of how their actions, behaviors, and emotions have an effect on others.
- Building Communication
For those who have abused drugs or alcohol for a prolonged period of time, their ability to properly communicate can be hindered or underdeveloped. Horses can help with this in that these individuals can recognize their level of interaction, making them realize that there is just as much communication that is unaware as it is aware. Through learning about horse behavior, individuals can learn how their actions influence those are them.
- Creating Boundaries
Those who have struggled with addiction may struggle with limits and boundaries. Equine therapy can help individuals create boundaries by virtue or their space. Horses require a certain amount of space in order to feel comfortable and adhering to that boundary can help recovering addicts realize that limitations are needed in order for everyone to feel comfortable.
- Conquering Fears
The sheer size of a horse can induce feelings of fear and anxiety, especially if you have never been around an animal of that stature before. In addition, fearing that the horse may not approach you or not like you is also a common feeling. Realizing that a horse will warm up to you and overcoming this fear will allow you to build trust and, therefore, overcome challenges as they relate to recovery.
Growth During Therapy
When a recovering addict goes through equine therapy, they are growing in their ability to have patience, acceptance, confidence, and appreciation for some of life’s most simple things. Through interactions with these horses, individuals can boost their mental health and overcome the barriers that face them.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and looking for a holistic means of recovery, equine therapy can help. Equine therapy as proven to help with:
- Building relationships
Equine therapy can be integrated into many treatment programs. This type of therapy can also assist in helping to manage mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and OCD. It’s time to get the help necessary so that you can begin to live a fulfilled and content life.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.