Benefits of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

As Winston Churchill once said, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”  That undefinable “something” that Churchill refers to is no less powerful in the 21st century.  Since the domestication of horses some six thousand ago, human beings have been profoundly and inextricably linked to these majestic animals.  And although we may no longer rely on horses to carry out an array of day-to-day tasks, Americans continue to gravitate to horses, whether for sport, simple companionship, or to heal.

According to the Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Leaning Association (EGALA), whose membership reaches 41 nations, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP)…“is a powerful and effective therapeutic approach that has an incredible impact on individuals …addressing a variety of mental health and human development needs including behavioral issues, attention deficit disorder, PTSD, substance abuse, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, relationship problems and communication needs.” At Cliffside Malibu we have certainly seen this to be true when our clients participate in EAP.  Even those clients who approach the therapy with trepidation come back transformed.  EAP is not a leisurely horseback ride at sunset. In fact, most clients never get on the horses at all, so you need not fear if you haven’t any experience with general horsemanship. In joining the animal in a series of ground activities, our clients are amazed at how buried emotions are unlocked and pathways to communication are opened. At the end of a session, neither the horse nor the human are wearing blinders.  It is a profound experience with great benefit to those who use it.