I am talking a lot about horses and therapy and equine-assisted therapy and learning and, and, and… but what actually is equine-assisted therapy?
Equine-assisted therapy (EAT) is an experiential therapy that uses a certified mental health professional and an equine to positively impact physical, cognitive, and emotional well-being. I am not a mental health professional and do not practice equine-assisted therapy. However, I wanted to explain a bit about what EAT is to head off any future questions.
Equine-assisted therapy goes by several names, including equine assisted psychotherapy or equine facilitated counseling. All of these names have one thing in common – they require the use of a trained mental health professional.
Equine-assisted therapy occurs with a mental health professional and one or more clients with one or more horses. The client and mental health professional work together to create psychotherapy goals and use EAT exercises to address those goals.
EAT helps clients learn about themselves and others through observation and partnership with the horse. This is thanks, in large part, to the horse as a biofeedback machine, instantly providing information about the client’s moods and changes within those moods.
Sessions don’t necessarily include riding. Groundwork, herd observation, and grooming are all common lessons to incorporate into an equine-assisted therapy session. Since I am not a licensed mental health professional, I won’t go into too much detail about how a session looks or how it may be beneficial. If you’re interested in learning more about EAT, check out PATH’s website here: PATH EAT