Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) as defined by EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) is an alternative to traditional in-office psychotherapy. EAP utilizes horses as an aid in the therapeutic process. It is not a riding program, but rather an environment where both horse and client are free to be themselves. Riding is the teaching of specific skills. EAP differs from horsemanship and riding as it focuses on human skills not horse skills. These equine activities allow the client to process thoughts, beliefs, behaviors and patterns and often act as a metaphor to “real life”. It is a collaborative effort between a mental health professional and a horse professional working with clients and horses to address treatment goals.
Who can benefit from EAP?
The potential for EAP is limitless. The use of horses in therapy has been effective with at-risk youth, families, and a variety of clients seeking counseling. It can be experienced both as individual or group therapy. The client who is open to an experiential modality will best be served through this model. This means that the client will learn about themselves and others by participating in the EAP activities with the horse and then process thoughts, beliefs and patterns of behavior. Those clients who are hesitant to talk through typical in-office hourly sessions may find this type of therapy less intimidating and more rewarding.
What is Equine Assisted Learning?
Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) is not considered therapy but rather a growth and learning experience. EAL uses horses together with a mental health professional, horse professional and other professional in activities on the ground to enhance skills such as leadership, group dynamics and/or self awareness.
Who can benefit from EAL?
It can benefit sport teams, corporate groups as well as many varied groups and individuals seeking personal growth.
This information has been adapted from the EAGALA Fundamentals of EAGALA Model Practice Manual.
Forward Strides Counseling LLC offersEquine Assisted Learning and Psychotherapy at a barn in Alpharetta. Please call Gloria Griffin, LPC for more information at 404-790-9022
Forward Strides Counseling LLC, 11795 Northfall Lane, Suite 601, Alpharetta GA 30009