How Equine Therapy Can Help People with Addiction

How Equine Therapy Can Help People with AddictionNo matter how good an addiction treatment program is, the only thing that matters to an addict and his family is how well the lessons of treatment work when he brings them out of treatment and into the real world. One way to ensure treatment applies to the real world is to bring parts of the real world into treatment. Equine therapy, for example, brings the care of and interaction with a horse into the treatment environment. A horse is a 1000-pound creature with a mind of its own. With the proper guidance, working with a horse can help addicts learn and practice skills they will need as they build drug free lives. For San Jose addicts struggling with recovery, equine therapy may be an effective option.

San Jose Addicts and Horse Therapy

Equine therapy follows in the tradition of other “experiential” therapies. Instead of talking about addictions or other problems and their solution, people learn and grow through guided experiences with horses that are both fun and challenging.

The experiential therapy most familiar to many people involves ropes courses. Groups of coworkers get out of the office and build their skills of teamwork by working through ropes courses together. Experiential therapy often involves a safe and therapeutic challenge.

Equine therapy also involves physical demands and direct problem solving. But working with a living, breathing horse adds a new layer of challenges and rewards that ropes and logs do not. A working relationship with a horse shares many characteristics of relationships with other people. Horses need to be cared for. The horse’s feelings and moods must be understood and considered. Accomplishing anything with a horse requires communication and cooperation with the horse. It is a relationship of give and take. San Jose addicts can learn important lessons about empathy, responsibility and accountability through taking care of a horse on a daily basis.

Equine Therapy Can Teach Important Skills for Addiction Recovery

Many people’s addictions are at least partially rooted in underdevelopment of life skills. A reason for turning to drugs is that they offer an apparent solution to problems. In order to build a lasting recovery, a person needs to develop more productive and sustainable ways to tackle problems.

People with addictions may also be missing some important interpersonal skills. While horses do not talk, they do communicate with humans. Equine therapy gives people challenges that can only be solved by communicating and negotiating with the horse. Anxiety or social phobias may make it difficult for a person to practice communicating with other people. But a horse does not produce the same kind of anxiety for many people.

The problems solved and communications made with a horse cannot be directly repeated in the real world. But the memories of these accomplishments and the confidence they create can be taken home and used as a model for cultivating successful and positive habits that lead away from the need to use drugs.

Find Equine Therapy Addiction Treatment

If your or a loved one in San Jose is struggling with addiction recovery, call our toll-free helpline to learn more about how equine therapy can help with addiction. Counselors are available 24 hours a day.

Tags: , , , ,

  • Live Chat

    Chat now with an admissions coordinator for a confidential assessment.