Equine-Assisted Therapy for Veterans with PTSD

PTSD treatment in Charlotte, NCThe brave men and women who serve in our Armed Forces are often sent overseas to defend our freedoms. The fight for liberty leaves scars on these heroes. In fact, the Department of Veteran's Affairs estimates that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects as many as one quarter of the troops who have served in the Middle East. Many veterans are finding an unusual ally in their struggle with PTSD, the horse. If you need PTSD treatment in Charlotte, NC, contact Legacy Freedom today.

For thousands of years, horses have been relied on by physicians to improve the health and mental well-being of their patients. While the role of the horse as a mode of transportation has evolved, so has the horse's impact as a therapy assistant. Utah based clinical psychologist and leading practitioner of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP), Dr. Laurie Sullivan-Sakeada, says that like those who have been to war, horses rely on their heightened senses for survival. Horses react and mirror the emotions of their handlers directly. They respond positively to positive emotions and negatively to negative emotions. The result Sullivan-Sakeada says is non-verbal feedback that helps combat veterans heal. Researchers have equated one session of EAP to five traditional talk therapy sessions.

The benefits of EAP are found across the board and can help veterans learn things like trust, communication, and self-awareness. To those who are struggling with PTSD, having a horse that understands and doesn't ask questions can be a powerfully healing thing. Giving a veteran the halter of a therapy horse and letting them figure out how to approach the horse can be the first step in helping them heal.

Through EAP veterans experience the following benefits:

  • Anxiety Reduction: Contact with animals has been proven by many studies to reduce feelings of anxiety. For those who struggle with a fear of horses, the gentleness and affectionate nature of these animals can help clients embrace their fears through exposure therapy for their anxiety issues.
  • Communication: Horses are sensitive to non-verbal communication. As a result, clients are forced to develop a greater awareness of the non-verbal cues that they use to communicate as well as an awareness of their emotions and the importance of non-verbal communication in relationships.
  • Trust: Learning to trust the horse helps restore or develop the ability to trust others for those who have been involved in difficult life experiences where trust has been broken or violated.
  • Isolation Reduction: For combat veterans, pulling away from loved ones, friends, and colleagues is a way of coping with feeling different from other people. During EAP, the horse invites the veteran to connect with them and allows them to feel reconnected to those around them.
  • Self-Awareness: For those with PTSD, interpersonal aggression is a difficult issue. When working with the horses, a client is reminded of their size in relation to the horse. In this compelling awareness of self, the aggressive behaviors towards others decrease.

Best PTSD Treatment in Charlotte, NC for 2018

The benefits of EAP for veterans with PTSD are numerous. When alternative treatment methods like EAP are combined with traditional talk therapy, the results in PTSD treatment in Charlotte, NC are amazing. Legacy Freedom Charlotte has helped thousands of clients overcome their PTSD and learn new ways to cope with this powerful anxiety disorder. If you are struggling with PTSD or other mental illnesses, call or click to connect with Legacy Freedom today!

Stop letting your PTSD control your life! Caring and compassionate mental health care is just a call or click away.

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