Equine Therapy

Equine therapy is a type of animal-assisted therapy offered by Indiana Inpatient Rehab. This therapy helps people improve their self-esteem and social functioning as they recover from substance use disorders.

Here’s a closer look at how equine therapy works and why you’ll want to consider it as part of your rehab experience.

What Is Equine Therapy?

Equine therapy, also known as horse therapy or horse-assisted therapy, involves regular interaction with horses. This therapy normally begins after patients have completed drug or alcohol detox and have started to receive other addiction therapies in residential rehab.

The horses and stables used in equine therapy are located off-site, requiring patients to be transported to and from the facility to receive this service.  The activities involved with equine therapy will vary based on the facility and their horses. Patients may feed the horses, groom them, and watch them interact with each other.

Equine therapy sessions usually last about 90 minutes and take place over the course of several weeks. The first few sessions focus on teaching patients the basics surrounding horse safety and working with horses. After these initial sessions, equine therapy is customized for each patient to address their unique challenges as they relate to addiction recovery.

How Does Equine Therapy Help With Addiction?

Horses are consistent and nonjudgmental. These traits make them ideal companions for patients who have problems trusting others, patients suffering from anxiety and depression, and patients who suffer from low self-esteem, according to the journal Addiction Science & Clinical Practice.

Horses are reported to be highly motivational when used in an addiction treatment setting. Equine therapy helps patients develop and improve their social skills and learn how to effectively manage their emotions. This therapy is also useful for teaching patients how to practice mindfulness and pick up on nonverbal cues.

Who Can Benefit From Equine Therapy?

Equine therapy can benefit anyone recovering from a substance use disorder or mental health disorder. Many who struggle with these disorders have isolated themselves from others or have suffered blows to their confidence and self-esteem. Working with horses can help these individuals find purpose in day-to-day living and benefit from greater self-worth.

Psychological conditions found to respond best to equine therapy include anxiety, depression, aggression, low self-esteem, and poor motivation. Some of these mental health conditions are also common drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms and co-occurring disorders. For instance, anxiety and depression are common post-acute withdrawal symptoms associated with methamphetamine addiction, according to the World Health Organization. Those in recovery from meth addiction who are still experiencing these symptoms after drug detox may benefit greatly from equine therapy.


Equine Therapy with Indiana Inpatient Rehab

Our residential treatment programs can include equine therapy to help treat with substance abuse recovery and co-occurring disorders.  Give us a call today to discuss equine therapy and other levels of care at Indiana Inpatient Rehab.

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