Equine Therapy for Addiction in Cape Coral, FL (239) 330-3382

Equine therapy can be defined as any use of horses in a therapeutic setting. This unique form of therapy has been found to be effective in a wide range of treatment scenarios: Originally used as a treatment for traumatic injuries, it also became a popular therapy for physically handicapped individuals.

In recent years, equine-assisted therapy has branched out to treat a range of disorders, including drug and alcohol addiction. Although tending to horses is typically a small part of an overall treatment plan, equine therapy can have long-lasting benefits for individuals recovering from drug or alcohol addiction.

For more information about holistic drug treatment methods, call Drug Rehab Cape Coral FL at (239) 330-3382.

Understanding Equine Therapy

Many people incorrectly assume that equine therapy is simply about riding horses; in reality, the benefits of the therapy come from interacting with the animals. Helping to groom and care for horses enables recovering individuals to better understand themselves and gain control over their addiction.

Equine-assisted therapy usually takes place in a small group setting and is facilitated by a certified therapist. Participants are introduced to a horse and gradually develop a relationship with the animal. After a session, participants are given time to process their feelings and experiences with their therapists; this feedback can help inform a patient’s treatment plan.

Treating Addiction with Equine Assisted Therapy

Animals have long been used to calm and soothe sick patients: Dogs and cats have been utilized in many settings to relieve anxiety and alleviate pain. Horses can be just as effective at accomplishing these goals. Equine-assisted therapy can be particularly valuable in drug rehab programs to provide recovering addicts with a new focus. The new activities and responsibilities that revolve around horses can help individuals replace their old, unhealthy habits.

Caring for horses also teaches recovering addicts responsibility and helps them stick to a regular schedule. A comprehensive drug treatment plan will use animal therapy to complement traditional counseling, psychotherapy and pharmaceutical therapy. These therapies work well together, and all serve to help the patient grow as an individual.

Drug Treatment Centers and Animal Therapy

There are many reasons for drug rehab centers to incorporate horse therapy into their treatment plans. Interacting with horses in a structured therapeutic setting can help boost patients’ confidence and restore their sense of self-worth. For many recovering addicts, the feeling of unconditional love and trust they receive from a horse is new and life-affirming.

Individuals who participate in equine psychotherapy often report feeling needed by the horses they care for: This sense of value can help a person in recovery maintain control over their addiction. The good feelings that result from working with horses go a long way toward overcoming negative thoughts that may have impeded past attempts at recovery.

Most drug and alcohol treatment programs involve some degree of behavior management, and equine psychotherapy can provide valuable learning opportunities in this area. By learning how to communicate with a horse, participants observe how the animal reacts to differences in their mood, tone of voice and body language. This feedback is valuable, and it helps participants differentiate between hurtful behaviors and appropriate ways to assert themselves.

The holistic approach associated with equine therapy can be beneficial for individuals struggling with all kinds of substance abuse issues. Horse therapy may play a part in both drug abuse and alcohol addiction rehab programs; it’s also appropriate for treatment programs that cater to individuals with a dual diagnosis. While horses only represent one facet of an effective drug treatment program, they can improve the quality of the rehabilitation experience and boost the odds of an individual’s successful recovery.

To learn more about these and other alternative addiction therapies, call Drug Rehab Cape Coral FL at (239) 330-3382.

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