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Working with animals in therapeutic settings has been practiced for years and found to be effective in a variety of situations. Although animals of all types can be wonderful as therapy, horses seem to have unique traits that make them ideal for help with behavioral and emotional issues.  This seems to hold true for children, adolescents, and adults. While equine therapy is considered beneficial, it isn’t widely available, and horses for addiction treatment is even less common, although it has shown promising results.image-23

Wayside’s Unique Equine Therapy Program in Florida

Equine therapy for addiction is something that few treatment programs offer, and is usually only available at the most expensive facilities. Wayside is proud to offer our unique equine program to our clients. Equine therapy is part of our holistic therapy program and complements other treatments such as individual therapy, art therapy, horticulture therapy and group therapy.

Together with specially trained horses, our licensed equine therapist works with clients through a series of exercises that help not only reveal areas that may need to be addressed, but also build confidence, trust, impulse control and more. Clients are instructed to lead the horses through a series of obstacles under the supervision of the therapist. This exercise can bring to light areas that may need to be worked on, such as a lack of confidence, fear of failure or anger issues. Once identified, these are issues that can then be addressed during therapy.

Aside from that, working with horses is rewarding. People who have experienced equine therapy find a great deal of joy spending time with horses, and the feeling seems to be mutual. Being around animals is healing, and clients look forward to weekly sessions of horse therapy for substance abuse.

Utilizing Horses To Recover From Addiction

Equine therapy is not a new concept, it has been used for patients with a variety of issues for some time. Equine therapy has been shown to be effective in treating children with autism, behavioral issues and adults with a variety of chronic conditions and even dementia.

Equine therapy for addiction is somewhat more recent and has been found to be a valuable addition to other substance abuse treatments.

Why Equine Therapy For Addiction Works

There are several reasons why horse therapy for substance abuse works. Animals, in general, have the ability to heal on numerous levels. Spending time with animals helps improve symptoms of depression and anxiety and even physical pain. Horses seem to be particularly suited for this type of therapy.image-28

For addicts, spending time with horses gives them something to focus on, something to care for and bond with. As the person becomes more comfortable with the animal, a sense of trust and confidence develops. At the same time, as the client works with the horse, the horse becomes more comfortable and trusting. This can be an amazing feeling for the addict who may feel isolated and may feel that they have lost the love and trust of their friends and family. This bonding between addict and animal can often pave the way for healing between addicts and their loved ones.

Another benefit to working with horses is increase awareness of body language, the tone of voice and demeanor. Horses are sensitive and respond to these things. This response can help the client develop awareness of how their own body language and voice affect those around them.

Experience Our Quality Equine Therapy Program

Wayside’s equine therapy for addiction takes place on a weekly basis and is part of a comprehensive holistic substance abuse treatment program. We offer a number of other therapies in addition to equine therapy. If you are a woman struggling with substance abuse and  would like to learn more about our treatment program and its holistic treatment therapies, contact Wayside House at 561-278-0055 to find out about our weekly orientation.