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Therapies

Therapy Profile: Equine Therapy

The biggest blessing for recovering addicts and alcoholics over the last 100 years is all of the new and exciting treatment options that are available. In the past, people suffering from addiction would be given hydrotherapy or even lobotomized, because the general public did not understand addiction as a disease.

Luckily, today we have so many wonderful options, and Wayside House aims to incorporate as many of them as possible, to ensure a whole body, whole mind, whole life approach to healing. One of these methods is through equine therapy.

What is Equine Therapy?

Similar to any other form of pet therapy, equine therapy has been shown to help people struggling with mental disorders and addiction through the compassion and understanding of two souls.

There are many different styles and forms of equine therapy, but in its most basic form, it provides a space of therapeutic companionship between people and animals.

Equine therapy sessions are supervised by trained professionals who care for and attend to the horses, as well as create a therapeutic plan for the individuals to be able to gain experience through working with them.

Benefits of Equine and Pet Therapy

There is no question that animals have undying love and compassion for humans, especially when treated with affection and compassion. Research has shown the benefits of pet therapy and equine therapy to be extremely soothing and centering for people with mental disorders. For example, pet and horse therapy can:

  • Reduce blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health
  • Releases endorphins that create a calming effect
  • Increased self-esteem
  • Increase social cues and interaction awareness
  • Promotes willingness to participate
  • Motivates exercise and interactions with others
  • Decrease depression and anxiety
  • Stimulating compassion and nurturing behaviors

Many times, equine therapy horses have often rescued themselves, or are struggling with physical deformities such as blindness, or lameness, and this can often help increase the bond and compassion from the person, as they can often empathize with the horse’s trauma or emotional state.

A 2008 study found that people who worked with therapy animals over a 12 week period had vastly higher levels of self-esteem and even increased coping abilities.

How Does Equine Therapy Compliment Traditional Treatment?

Wayside House incorporates both traditional and holistic therapeutic practices for the overall wellbeing and recovery of the woman. Holistic practices such as equine therapy are meant to heal patients by coming back to natural and positive human emotions, through interpersonal connections, and through healthy functioning mindsets.

Equine Therapy can be a transformative experience for women who had difficulty processing or displaying emotion. It is shown to boost confidence and self-esteem and filters that into their own recovery process. The process of developing a relationship with the animals nurtures their own sense of pride and accomplishment, as well as creating a feeling of connection with another soul.

It relates and compliments traditional treatment modalities in part to the two-sided journey that equine therapy promotes. For example, the person must trust the horse, and the horse must trust the human for positive interaction to occur. This mirror the patient and therapist relationship, as well as the individual to their family and support network.

nurse with horse

How Most Equine Therapies Work

Under the guidance and treatment plan of the professional equine therapist, patient interactions with the therapy horses are designed to serve as a lesson on compassion and getting in touch with their own emotions throughout the process. For example, many people have a fear of horses, they are very big animals and they can often be depicted as wild and even dangerous.

Many programs centered around equine therapy are devoted less to riding the horses, and more towards the general care and nurturing of the horses. For example, many equine therapists start the individual relationship around grooming and feeding the horses. This creates the initial trust process and allows time for the individual to relate to and understand the animals cues.

However, horses are actually very acutely tuned in to people’s emotions, similarly to dogs. They can often act as a mirror to the person’s emotional state, picking up on either relaxation or stress. This allows the individual to receive immediate feedback on what they are feeling.

Equine Therapy also provides:

  • Identifying their Interpersonal Interactions: the woman will be able to see how her own actions and behaviors affect those around her. By being able to identify these emotions at the moment, it creates a heightened awareness and identification process for her in the future.
  • Trust Building: A person who feels uncomfortable talking or opening up in traditional treatment setting often find that equine therapy or pet therapy can help create a safe space for them to feel safe and connected. This helps with therapist interaction in the future, and also promotes trust when they are developing their support network in the outside world.
  • Healthy Relationships: horses offer the women a non-judgemental, compassionate relationship. This has shown to help people who have been struggling with negative relationships in the past and can help rebuild self-confidence without fear of criticism.
  • Patience and Compassion: Many women that are recovering from addiction and other mental disorders often struggle with the ideas of control and perfection. Horses create a perfect environment to practice patience, acceptance, and understanding. After all, the phrase, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” can relate perfectly to the active state of an addict.

The Rarity of Equine Therapy

While the benefits of pet and equine therapy have been shown to be dramatically beneficial to the wellbeing of women recovering from addiction and mental disorders, it is sadly not offered at a majority of treatment facilities. However, with Wayside Houses emphasis on whole body healing, equine therapy is being offered weekly and is encouraged for all individuals to try.

Getting Help at Wayside House

If you are a woman struggling with addiction and mental health issues, Wayside House can help. We offer a women-only program and provide a safe, supportive environment to recover in. We have outstanding treatments and therapies that are often only found in more expensive programs. We offer inpatient rehab with various therapies, relapse prevention education, outpatient, and aftercare, as well as services for medical professionals and veterans. Contact Wayside House at 800-655-0817 to learn more.

Testimonials

  • “Thank you Wayside for being there for her when she needed your help the most!!!”   Woohoo!!! 

  • Wayside taught me how to be a woman and live life clean & sober!

    Alexandra N.

  • “Wayside is more than treatment. It is a home. I grew up emotionally in that little house. I was there for 9 months and they were the best 9 months of my life. To have time to learn about yourself and take the time to focus on yourself is such a blessing. The plants I planted are still there. I see them in the photos. Such a special place!!”

    Amanda O.

  • This is an excellent treatment facility and all women down in Delray Beach, FL. …if you have anything you can send to help these young/older women, believe me anything is appreciated. This place and God did wonders for my girl.

    Amy G

  • Wayside House is where i went to rehab & they are AMAZING!! Its a 90 day program & alot of the girls have absolutely nothing when they move into the house. If your feel generous, or just want to help, it’s a worthy cause!!  Mandy W.

  • “What a rich heritage Wayside House has!”

    Allen S.

  • “It was so nice to hear from Wayside House.  I am still employed and I love my job!!! I will have 9 months on the 21st of October…..All thanks to Wayside and you ladies at the Posner Center!!!!🤗”

    Rita P.

  • “Tonight’s Wayside House Anniversary meeting and listening to the journey’s with 1,2,6,22,29 and 33 years in sobriety empowered my heart! So happy for one of the girls I sent to Wayside House.”

    Katrin O.

  • “Wayside does such good work in our community.” 

    Jan S.

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    378 NE Sixth Avenue
    Delray Beach, FL 33483

    What People Are Saying

    • “I have always supported Wayside House — I know women who have come through their program and support all they do. If you don’t know about this fabulous place I encourage you to become involved and find out more — they are an anchor in Delray Beach and their history speaks for itself.” 

      Nancy S.

    • “I went through Wayside House & it was the first place that actually felt like home to me. The staff actually care about their clients and their sobriety. I worked through so much here without fear of being judged. I love wayside & it will always have a special place in my heart along with ALL the amazing women who work there.”

      Mandy W

    • I so wish I could tell the girls how much Wayside saved my life,  and after 31 years sober, it still is just “One Day at a Time” and “The Serenity Prayer.” I will always remember those first days of being at Wayside and how the girls , the counselors , and the House put me back on track to living a fulfilled and Sober life . I followed the AA steps, got a wonderful sponsor and have followed that path ever since. — Pamela R.

    • “Thank you Wayside for being there for her when she needed your help the most!!!”   Woohoo!!! 

    • Wayside taught me how to be a woman and live life clean & sober!

      Alexandra N.

    • “Wayside is more than treatment. It is a home. I grew up emotionally in that little house. I was there for 9 months and they were the best 9 months of my life. To have time to learn about yourself and take the time to focus on yourself is such a blessing. The plants I planted are still there. I see them in the photos. Such a special place!!”

      Amanda O.

    • This is an excellent treatment facility and all women down in Delray Beach, FL. …if you have anything you can send to help these young/older women, believe me anything is appreciated. This place and God did wonders for my girl.

      Amy G

    • Wayside House is where i went to rehab & they are AMAZING!! Its a 90 day program & alot of the girls have absolutely nothing when they move into the house. If your feel generous, or just want to help, it’s a worthy cause!!  Mandy W.

    • Allen S.

      “What a rich heritage Wayside House has!”

    • Rita P.

      “It was so nice to hear from Wayside House.  I am still employed and I love my job!!! I will have 9 months on the 21st of October…..All thanks to Wayside and you ladies at the Posner Center!!!!🤗”

    • Katrin O.

      “Tonight’s Wayside House Anniversary meeting and listening to the journey’s with 1,2,6,22,29 and 33 years in sobriety empowered my heart! So happy for one of the girls I sent to Wayside House.”

    • Jan S.

      “Wayside does such good work in our community.” 

    • Leah J.

      “I just wanted to thank you for how you and the team make the world a better place.  I won’t claim to understand the things you sacrifice, but you are truly wonderful for doing so.“

    • Janine T.

      “I  highly recommend Wayside Women’s in Delray Beach. My daughter completed their wonderful program, she’ll have 2 years July 1st. They have an active alumni. I couldn’t say enough good things about them, they’ve been doing this since mid70’s.”

    • Stacy J.

      “ Thankful for my sobriety and for Wayside! “

    • Susan B.

      “Wayside House was and is an amazing place to me. I am on a journey that is better than I could have ever imagined. The strength of the women that came before me, that are beside me, and those that are there now teach me how to live “.

    • Lisa D.

      “Wayside saved my life and I will never be able to repay them for everything they have done for me.”

    • Dolores A.

      “Wayside house saved my daughter’s life. She transformed into the beautiful woman I knew she could be. It’s only been a few months but one day at a time she and I are enjoying her recovery journey!!!”

    • Jeanne H.

      “We appreciate all that you do to help individuals in recovery, demonstrating God’s love in our community. Your staff at Wayside House continue to help in so many ways, women and their families that need the love, care and support that you are able to provide. Thank you so much for all you do for them.  May God continue to bless you, your staff and your volunteers each and every day for the light you provide for our community.”

    • Susan C.

      “ Wayside is “the light”! Congratulations on the article in the Palm Beach Post
      for all you do to make the commitment to help those in need.”

    • Lynne B.

      “I will always be grateful to Wayside for giving my daughter the tools and knowledge to live a sober life on the outside. You changed her life thank you thank you thank you, may all the people that pass through your wonderful cozy house succeed in sobriety as well.”

    • Katy B.

      “I am sober and happy today thanks to Wayside.”

    • A.D.

      “Having the opportunity to go to Wayside was the best thing I’ve ever done. They lovingly deconstructed my life so I could put it back together. They are a serious program that gave me the ability to understand myself in a way I never thought was possible. They didn’t baby me and they taught me how to be beautifully authentic with myself and those around me. I really can’t thank them enough.”

    • Susan T.

      “Please keep up your wonderful work; the kids of south Florida need you.”

    • Jaimie K.

      “I am making this donation and thank you for all you do!”

    • Pam H.

      “Celebrating 29 years 7/22/2016. Sponsoring, 3-5 meetings a week, and forever grateful to Wayside House!”

    • Laura B.

      “I will be celebrating my 17th year clean and sober.  PLEASE share with the celebrants that I am with them in spirit even though I can’t be with them.  Wayside rocks!  Remind them to stay until the magic happens.”

    • BH alumni

      “I just want to give a shout out to the Wayside staff and alumni who organized and participated in the first annual gratitude dinner. The entire evening was absolutely devine! Wayside House saved my life and I am so very happy that you are at the helm.”

    • Brenda

      “Just walking down memory lane! I Love Wayside House! I went through twice!!
      LOL!! Clean and sober today! Love to all the women! XOXO”

    • Ashley

      “Thank you to Marlies and the Posner Center because without your guidance I wouldn’t have been pushed to pursue what I love and want out of a job and school. You’re amazing!”

    • Colletta D.

      “Proud to be a donor supporter of your efforts.”

    • Sara W.

      “Wayside House saved my life. It was a place that gave me a purpose to follow my dreams. And gave me a life that I never thought could be possible. It is a place where God lives in the lives of so many recovering women. Thank you.”

    • Andrea S.

      “So many miracles and beautiful souls are at Wayside. It’s a very special place.”

    • Phoebe M.

      “What an incredible gift to have gone to Wayside House.  Keep up the great work!”

    • Kathy G.

      “I’m so grateful to be a Wayside Winner 12/89 . One day at a Time.”

    • Christine D.

      “I have to commend Wayside House. They are a 1st class treatment center.”

    • Christine A.

      “I went through Wayside House in 1991 and have been clean and sober for 23 years. I have had four children, two grandchildren, and am happily married. The aftercare and parenting groups that Wayside had is something that helped me so very much as a new parent who was fairly new in recovery. I now have a Bachelor’s degree in social work and am working on a Master’s degree in counseling specializing in addictions counseling. If I had not been placed in Wayside House so many years ago I would have never been able to achieve the things that I have in my life. I am forever grateful for the blessing it has had in my life!”

    • Jeffrey Lane Esq., Weiner, Lynne & Thompson P.A.

      “Wayside is the benchmark by which I hold other similar facilities too.”

    • John Lehman, President FARR

      “I know many women whose lives have been greatly impacted by the quality support they experienced while enrolled and residing in your program. My first hand knowledge dates back to 1980 and I can attest to Wayside’s long tradition of excellence.”

    • J.L.

      “Wayside House saved my sobriety at a critical time in my life. My HP knew I needed to be there and surrounded by strong women who believed in me. Thank you!”

    • Evelyn H.

      “ My life has changed very deeply. I have been given the gift of life in sobriety and treating it like a present.”

    • Cynthia F.

      “I hated God & tried not to believe in any higher power before getting sober. Now I know that each day is a gift and
      that all things are possible through my spiritual connection. All of life is a miracle and for the ultimate good.”

    • Liz D.

      “I just wanted to send my gratitude and thanks for all you have done for me and thousands of women out there recovering from addictions.”

    • Sally W.

      “God bless your work at Wayside.”

    • T.P.

      “Thank you for all that you have done to make me experience Wayside and the true change in my life through this program. I am grateful.”

    • Cindy

      “To all of you fortunate enough to celebrate the holidays at Wayside, I hope you find peace and happiness.
      My Christmas at Wayside was one of the best ever as I received the lasting gift of sobriety. God Bless you all!”

    • Anonymous

      “ My children have been returned and I have found God.”

    • Anonymous

      “Wayside House and God have given me a life I never thought I deserved.”

    • Anonymous

      “Wayside House played a very big role in treating our daughter. We will be forever grateful for you and our blessings from the Lord.”

    • Anonymous

      “ I have restored relationships with my family and learned how to love others. I am accountable, help and trust others and enjoy living life. I have peace and I don’t worry. I know that everything is going to be OK. I also attend three meetings a week and sponsor several women.”

    • Anonymous

      “ By spending time with my awesome God every morning who saved me by touching my life while at Wayside. God continues to draw me close to him.”

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