Equine therapy – therapy that involves horses – is a powerful tool used in treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders. RCA at Devon partners with Gateway HorseWorks to give patients a new outlook on recovery.
“Horses and animals can make you feel connected and part of a bigger plan,” said RCA Patient Advocate Jane Goggin.
The horses meet patients wherever they are in their recovery journey, working to get rid of shame and guilt. With every exercise, the horses build patients back up to the person they were before their addiction.
After patients create a path for the horses to follow, they work to get the horses from one side of the ring to the other. With their keen senses, the horses model the behavior and emotions they see in their trainer. That means sometimes a change of approach is necessary to get the job done … and can be applied to the patient’s treatment, too.
The result? Patients gain a better understanding of what’s going on internally, see an increase in confidence, feel more connected, relax and enjoy the moment, and may stay in treatment longer.
It’s the ideal environment to let go of negative emotions while also building independence and self-worth.
It’s also a great chance for patients to learn more about what’s going on with their emotions – things that may be happening they don’t even realize. Because of how in tune horses are with emotions, they tend to reflect whatever they’re sensing, providing instant feedback on where someone’s emotional state is. It’s a way for patients to look deeper within themselves and find out what they’re really feeling.