The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs has estimated that close to a quarter of troops returning home from military duty are afflicted by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD as it is also called. The organization has been providing grants to therapists and practitioners who can help our veterans and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) has shown promising results. Studies have shown that having completed therapy, 100% of both men and women soldiers have talked about reduced stress levels.
Understanding Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP)
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy has been found effective in helping patients with symptoms of PTSD such as anxiety, depression, rage, nightmares, disturbed sleep and insomnia, and issues with forming and maintaining healthy relationships with family and friends. Left untreated, the condition can turn into a disability and interfere with normal living. Equine therapy is a form of healing where patients are encouraged to interact with horses and spend time with them under the supervision of an expert therapist and horse trainer. Guests participating in the program learn to groom, walk, saddle, and ride them if they want to and in the process learn to overcome their stress and anxiety.
Why Equine Therapy Works
Horses are gentle, noble animals that tend to pick up on the nervousness and negative feelings of the people around them and react in similar ways. When interacting with them, patients learn to face their fears and calm them so they can also calm their charges. This facet of the therapy is especially important because many veterans tend to push away their feelings and will not admit that they are scared or troubled in any way.
The ability to gain the trust and friendship of a being that is much bigger and powerful than the guests develops confidence. That very special connection that they form with the horse assigned to them is the key to unlocking the PTSD and allowing their souls to heal. Experts have found that the results of a single session of equine therapy are equivalent to the outcomes provided by 5 sessions of conventional therapy and counseling.
How Horses Help PTSD Patients
Equine therapy includes different types of sessions. In some forms of therapy, the horses are left free in the pasture. Guests are encouraged to go up to them, make friends, and learn to interact on their own. During other sessions, they may be given a halter and asked to place it on the horse. Or, they may be given a brush and asked to groom it. Learning and becoming successful in these simple activities raises lost self-esteem. Yet another facet of equine therapy is communicating with the horse using non-verbal cues. By understanding body language, patients can build better and closer personal relationships. They learn to put aside their insecurities and build closer bonds.
Equine Therapy Helps Patients with Other Disorders
Equine therapy is no doubt highly effective in helping veterans recover from PTSD. However, it has proven to be successful in helping other people deal with various conditions like addictions, autism, development issues, and behavioral disorders. Children, teens, and adults that are battling issues like marital infidelity, neglect, abandonment, and physical, emotional, and sexual abuse all respond exceedingly well to the treatments. They are able to heal psychological wounds and develop an understanding of their own feelings.
Yes, Equine Therapy Helps!
Interacting with horses gives veterans and people affected with PTSD a sense of motivation and control over their lives. They feel encouraged to let go of the trauma, memories, and pain of the past and rebuild their lives anew. Just a few sessions of equine therapy fills them with new hope and optimism for the future. To learn more about this highly effective holistic therapy, contact us at the USA Re-Boot Resort. We will be happy to answer all your queries.