Animals can provide an extraordinary amount of emotional support. Beyond the relationship with a pet owner that many of us have lovingly experienced, pets are sometimes used in therapeutic settings to help people overcome difficult emotional experiences. As we can see in this video, a horse can be the perfect therapy animal when you’re feeling down. With her funny face imitation, this horse definitely made this girl feel better.
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy integrates horses into the therapeutic process. People engage in activities such as grooming, feeding and riding a horse under the supervision of a mental health professional. Horses have been used for therapeutic purposes since the days of ancient Greece. The Greek physician Hippocrates, known as the “father of medicine”, wrote about the therapeutic potential of horseback riding.
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is often not the only form of treatment, but rather a complementary therapeutic service to be used in conjunction with more traditional treatment. Facilitated equine psychotherapy can be just as effective with children and adolescents as it is with adult clients. As with adults, children can face challenges like trauma, anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc. Although a variety of animals can be used in the psychotherapeutic process, horses offer unique characteristics that have made them the best choice for animal assisted therapy. According to anxiety expert Dr Robin Zasio, horses bring the following individual / unique elements to the therapeutic process. But establishing a therapeutic relationship can take time, as participants work to build trust and practice vulnerability throughout the session.