Service animals are not uncommon as a way to help people in stressful situations. They are used in animal-assisted therapy, which is when someone interacts with animals, such as a dog, in order to work through emotional issues. Another form of that type of treatment is equine therapy. Studies have shown that therapy like this is beneficial to those with psychological issues as well as addiction problems. At Legacy Freedom Treatment Center, we offer alternative drug rehab in Wilmington NC like this in addition to traditional options. We believe that each person’s journey to sobriety should be personalized based on their needs. Some people respond well to nontraditional forms of therapy such as animal assisted therapy.
Equine therapy is a fairly new form of treatment that is gaining more notoriety. This form of therapy allows a person to work with horses. This can be beneficial to those who have grown up loving horses, but may never had a chance to be around them. It has worked to help people of all ages overcome all kinds of issues, from anxiety to addiction.
History of Equine Therapy
While just recently gaining popularity, equine therapy was developed in the 1960s as a form of hippotherapy, which is therapy found through horseback riding. However, it has roots that go back as far as ancient Greece when wounded soldiers would ride horses in order to overcome their injuries. It was introduced in the U.S. in the 1960s by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) to help patients with disabilities, but it was later acknowledged as a treatment for people suffering from mental and emotional issues. In 1999, the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association (EFMHA) published standards by which counselors could use this form of treatment. There is also a certification program available for people who want to become equine therapists.
How Equine Therapy Works
When it was introduced, it began as a therapy focused on horseback riding. The therapist watched the patient ride a horse, noted how the horse responded, and gathered information based on that interaction. A horse can pick up on the emotions of its rider and caregiver without that person even knowing it because they are intuitive animals. The difference in equine therapy is that the patient actually interacts with the horse rather than just riding it.
Horses have long been known as highly sensitive animals who can pick up on human emotions. People and horses can create strong bonds because of this silent connection to each other’s emotions. Through therapy, a patient can get feedback from the horse that reflect his or her own emotions. For instance, when a patient is asked to brush a horse, the interaction should be easy if the person is calm and relaxed. If he or she is not, the horse will pick up on it and may not cooperate. The horse will be able to sense negative emotions. The horse can act as a mirror, reflecting emotions the person puts off, even if he or she doesn’t realize it.
By uncovering behavior that is not obvious to a patient, he or she can learn to change it or respond better. When he or she begins to form a healthy relationship with the horse, or one that reflects positive and calm emotions back and forth, he or she can use those tools to do the same in human relationships.
It has been used for people with autism as well as people suffering from depression, anxiety and even dementia. It is used in drug and alcohol rehabilitation because it can help an addict develop healthy ways of dealing with emotions as well as build self-esteem.
Benefits of Equine Therapy
There are many benefits of equine therapy for someone in an addiction treatment program. Our center in Wilmington NC offers alternative treatment such as this along with many more. We customize a treatment plan that works for the individual because we know that one plan will not work for everyone. Call us today to learn more about how we can help you or a loved one recover from drug or alcohol addiction.
A major part of addiction recovery is overcoming fear. Many times people turn to alcohol or drugs in order to cope with something they are afraid of or to deal with emotions they are scared to acknowledge. Horse therapy, especially if the patient is not comfortable around animals, can be a step toward breaking free of fear. If you need fear fighting drug rehab in Wilmington NC, call Legacy Freedom. We can help you break through!
Learning to take care of something else can help a person learn how to care for themselves. In equine therapy, a patient is generally given the task of caring for the horse each time they have a session. This can include grooming, corralling the horse, leading him to another location and feeding him. Developing this sort of caring relationship with an animal can help a person open up and form deeper relationships with people in their lives.
Because horses can pick up on emotions, as we mentioned before, it can help a patient learn to recognize their own feelings and work through some of their issues. Many people in treatment for addiction have underlying issues that must also be addressed, such as depression, anxiety and other emotional disorders. In order to fully address why someone turned to drugs or alcohol, these issues should be addressed so that a person can have a better chance at recovery that extends beyond the treatment program.
Equine therapy can be a part of a comprehensive program that combines traditional and alternative therapies that suit the patient and meet his or her needs.
Dependable Drug Rehab in Wilmington NC for 2017 and Beyond
Addiction of all kinds takes a toll on you, your body, and your family and friends as well. If someone you care about is suffering from an addiction and needs help, call us at Legacy Freedom Treatment Center in Wilmington NC. We offer personalized treatment programs to meet our patients’s needs. We have many forms of alternative therapies available that you won’t find anywhere else! We can also help people of all ages who are suffering from addiction. Know that Legacy Freedom also offers family support so that you can learn how to help your loved one during treatment. Give us a call today to learn more about the best alcohol rehab and drug rehab in Wilmington NC for 2017.