When recovering from alcoholism or addiction, different people require different therapy techniques. For those seeking alternative therapy and who happen to love animals, another mode of therapy to try would be equine therapy—a special mode of therapy that uses horses for therapeutic purposes.
Horses are amazing mammals. They are not judgmental. They don’t really require a whole lot and are happy and content with having their basic needs met. Over the years, many have combined their love for horses and therapy to help with addiction, depression, anxiety and other issues.
Here's how this magnificent animal's unconditional, loving and beautiful nature can help people in recovery.
1. Trust Issues
If you struggle with trust issues, working with a horse can help you overcome that issue. Interacting with a horse can help you to learn how to trust yourself and others. As you commit to cultivating a relationship with the horse and trusting that the horse will love you no matter what, you are working on building your trust levels. That horse is simply acting as a mirror; you trust it and it trusts you. This you can take outside of equine therapy and begin implementing it into your everyday life.
2. Control Issues
If you struggle with control issues, working with a horse can help you on that end as well. For example, let’s say you have a tough time trusting others, so you tend to try to control everyone, but when you try to control the horse, it doesn’t have an effect. That horse will not necessarily let just anyone try to control it, so you back off. You learn to trust the horse and both of you together create a relationship that satisfies both of you. You learn to let go and let things unfold as they will, trusting that it’s all for your highest good.
3. A Wandering Mind
Working with horses is also helpful for those who tend to live in their minds and intellectualize things. When you’re with a horse, you’ll gravitate toward feeling that horse with your heart and body, rather than your head. As you cultivate such a relationship, you’re more apt to let that spill into other areas of your life.
4. Getting to Know Your Authentic Self
Working with horses, you’ll end up learning a great deal about yourself. You’ll begin to get more in touch with your feelings and working through them. How many of those who enter recovery have no idea how to feel the feelings they’ve been stuffing for years and years? There are a good many, so learning how to identify, feel, and process emotions is wonderfully refreshing. You’ll feel safe and secure to just be yourself and love that horse for who he or she is. Many patients report that their lives have really turned around due to the lessons learned in equine therapy.
Equine therapy is tailored by a professional to each person’s need. The sessions may include horse riding, walking the horse, grooming, and simply sitting with and loving the horse. As you cultivate a loving relationship with the horse, you are also cultivating a loving relationship with yourself, which ultimately will help you from wanting to drink or drug.
Are You a Candidate for Equine Therapy?
If you’re in recovery and you would like to experience an alternative therapy to help you grow in various ways, give equine therapy a try. There are many equine-therapy therapists throughout the United States, so simply do some research on the topic and see what’s available in your area. You will be pleasantly surprised at the results as you move forward in your recovery and life journey. After all, horses simply want unconditional love and if we are really honest, that’s one thing we really want as well.