There is is a rise in people using equine-assisted therapy for addiction recovery. The goal is to therapeutically provide space for people to navigate the challenges of recovery from addiction by offering a therapy animal. Horses are great therapy animals because they are calm and read people really well. Veterans have worked with horses for years to get past symptoms of PTSD and emotional challenges from going to war, along with physical pain. Learning to work with animals is a great way for men to practice principles of recovery they may not get to do otherwise.
Horses are a representation of men in the recovery of a metaphorical experience. This is vital to recovery from drug addiction. Many men who participate in working with horses often find they can build their sense of trust, perspective, self-acceptance, lower impulse control issues, and increase their spiritual connection to self and others. Every person gains something new from working with horses. Horses play an important role because they are sensitive to changes in people’s emotional and mental states. A horse’s reaction reflects a person’s sense of being and state of mind. They will mirror what they are thinking or feeling. The man can let his guard down for a time working with the horse and not focus on recovery, but just be present to the process of healing. Taking a focus on the word recovery takes the pressure off and can aide in the journey of moving forward.
Why it Works
Research has described equine therapy as one of the most effective animal-assisted therapies because of how often people find hope and healing. Anything from depressive disorders to OCD, substance abuse and chronic illness can find space for healing when working with horses. Working with dual diagnoses can be helpful with horses who are tuned into emotional states and provide a safe space to let everything go and just focus on healing. Men should consider programs that incorporate equine-assisted therapy as part of their treatment because:
- They will find more avenues to open up emotionally
- They don’t have to answer questions or talk back to the animal
- They are able to just be with the animal and feel their presence with them
- There are no pre-qualifications other than being in addiction treatment
It may feel awkward at first, but being with horses is a natural process. It can aid in healing and bring hope to men who are struggling with addiction. Horses are a great way to bring another level of therapy to a difficult process by making it feel less challenging, if even just for that moment.
The Last Resort provides space for men to heal from addiction without judgment or shame. Our goal is to create a sanctuary where you can come and get away from the challenges outside and focus on inner healing. We offer equine-assisted therapy, among other types of therapeutic support. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.