About Equine Assisted Therapy
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) incorporates horses experientially for emotional growth and learning. It is a collaborative effort between a mental health professional and a horse professional working with the clients and horses to address treatment goals. Equine therapy is an experiential modality of clinical therapeutic treatment incorporating horses for growth and learning. Participants learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses, and then processing (or discussing) thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and patterns. EAP is an experiential modality broadly encompassing other learning and personal development goals. Both are incorporated in services at Hillview Farm and involve activities with horses which provide opportunities for the client or group to gain insights and apply new learning and skills. Non-verbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking/problem solving, leadership, work, taking responsibility, teamwork/relationships, confidence, and attitude are several examples of the tools utilized and developed by EAP/L. Horses are sensitive to non-verbal communication and respond to messages the clients give them in the moment. As a result, their responses begin to feel very familiar to the clients, namely just like how their spouses, children, and co-workers respond, or how their addictions, fears, dreams, etc. play out in their lives. The horses become very real symbols of these relationships and allow clients the opportunity to work through how to change these aspects of their lives in an experiential, in-the-moment and emotionally safe method.