What is EAP
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Learning is an evolving field in which horses are used as facilitators in improving the emotional well being of people.
We do this by working in structured sessions on the ground (no horse riding) with a qualified mental health professional, a horse specialist and one or more horses.
The client will be asked to interact with the horses and do specific tasks which will require them to apply certain skills including non-verbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking, problem-solving and leadership. EAP is a form of experiential learning, where you learn by doing rather than being shown or told what to do. The discussions that occur during and after the activities allow the client to process what happened and how that learning can relate to other areas of life.
We use horses in this work as they are excellent at sensing people’s emotions and feelings and will often mirror these behaviours, providing great reflections which can be clearly seen by the client.
Horses are large and powerful animals, inspiring awe and respect. This creates a natural opportunity for some to overcome fear and develop confidence. The size and power of the horse are naturally intimidating to many people. Accomplishing a task involving the horse, in spite of those fears, creates confidence and provides wonderful metaphors when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life.
Horses are very much like humans in that they are social animals. They have defined roles within their herds. They would rather be with their peers and they have distinct personalities, attitudes and moods. Most importantly horses are honest, with no hidden agenda, which makes them especially powerful messengers.
EAP is a powerful and effective therapeutic approach that has an incredible impact on individuals, families, and groups. EAP addresses a variety of mental health and human development needs including behavioural issues, attention deficit disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders, abuse issues, depression, anxiety, relationship problems and communication needs.
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