Behavioral health heads down on the farm
NOTE: This is a two part series. This blog will explain Equine Therapy and the next blog will feature local equine therapist and Alvernia graduate David Rosenker, who runs Herd By A Horse in Sinking Spring, Pa.
The more time that goes by the less taboo it is for people to talk about mental health issues. Whether the issues are their own, a family member’s or a friend’s, people are becoming more open about confronting maladies such as anxiety and depression. Even seeing a psychiatrist, counselor or psychologist – once considered stigma – is now as common as a doctor’s visit. But how many friends do you have who do their therapy with horses?
According to EAGALA — the leading international nonprofit association for professionals using equine therapy — Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) incorporates horses experientially for emotional growth and learning. The therapy consists of a collaborative effort between a licensed therapist and a horse professional working with the clients and horses to address treatment goals.
Professionals have been using horses therapeutically since 600 B.C., and in 1946 Equine Therapy was introduced in Scandinavia. Patients use these treatments for family communication problems, social anxiety, loss, recovery assistance and many other mental-health issues. But why horses?
“Naturally intimidating to many, horses are large and powerful. This creates a natural opportunity for some to overcome fear and develop confidence. Working alongside a horse, in spite of those fears, creates confidence and provides wonderful insight when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life,” according to EAGALA.
Horses also espouse strong work ethic, responsibility, assertiveness and communication.
“At the end of the day, I was overwhelmed by the sense of peace and relaxation I had gotten from the therapy session. I found that interacting with these animals helped me cope with my stress disorders.” – Equine therapy patient
Learn more about local equine therapist and Alvernia graduate David Rosenker in our next post.