The team at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery understand that experiential therapy is an essential and effective treatment modality for adolescents. It allows for the development of coping and social skills. Most importantly, it levels the playing field for participants to interact with peers. Through multiple teen therapy services, individuals can receive the support and insight they need for recovery. An excellent example of this is equine therapy.

What Is Equine Therapy?

Working with horses is something that most adolescents love to do. Similarly, many adults enjoy interacting with these majestic creatures. During equine therapy, participants will begin with introductory activities. Examples of this can include feeding the horses or leading them around horse pastures and riding rings.

To ensure the safety of all participants, team members have an experienced horse trainer accompany the group and individual sessions. After humans and horses have a chance to get to know one another, participants can move on to grooming and saddling the animals. After these activities, individuals will have the opportunity to ride the horses.

Foothills is unique in that their horses are located on site of the campus and clients can have access to them often throughout their time there. Clients participate in therapeutic sessions while riding the horses several times a week and build connections and relationships with the horses over time.

The Purpose of Equine Therapy

At Foothills at Red Oak Recovery, we like to refer to this modality as equine-assisted therapy. As an adolescent treatment center, we focus on discovering possible patterns of negative or dysfunctional behaviors or thought processes. Through equine therapy, therapists can observe the interactions between clients and the horses to uncover these patterns.

It’s entirely natural for some participants to feel shy around the horses. After all, they are larger animals, and this tends to be the first time they are interacting with the animals. That said, with time, clients often lose their fears when interacting with these gentle creatures.

How Experiential Therapy Benefits Participants

Our clinical team gains valuable insight into patterns, thought processes, and behaviors by observing the interactions between clients and the horses as part of our equine therapy program. Additionally, it helps clients gain awareness of their own behaviors and tendencies due to the experiential nature of this approach. Because of this, working with horses can be a wonderful alternative to traditional talk therapy and provides a safe space while processing emotional challenges.

Oftentimes, being in an environment outside of the traditional office setting allows adolescents to feel more open to sharing emotions and experiences. With more than 90 expansive acres on campus, several horse pastures, rumbling streams, and large horse round pens in the foothills of North Carolina, there is plenty of beautiful green space to work with the horses and other animals at Foothills.

Clients experience increased self-esteem and self-respect, improved focus, increased sense of trust, and reduction in mental health concerns, among many other benefits of equine therapy. They are also given the opportunity to solve problems, cooperate with peers, compromise, and plan, thereby strengthening their communication skills and mental flexibility. Equine therapy can also boost their abilities to control impulsive behavior and find better-coping skills for stressful situations.

Incorporating Equine Therapy with Other Treatment Approaches

Experiential therapy is an important treatment opportunity that your adolescent will experience at Foothills. Even so, it cannot stand alone. It does best when we combine it with other therapies and treatments. Examples include:

  • Family therapy, which brings in loved ones for healing and assisting with supporting the adolescent
  • One-on-one talk therapy that encourages openness and introspection
  • Group therapy is a way to receive peer input and support while learning in a safe environment
  • Co-occurring treatment center where professionals customize treatment for each participant
  • Individualized care that includes substance use, trauma, and mental health treatment

Against the backdrop of these modalities, working with horses is a valuable asset throughout treatment. The lessons that participants learn in groups or private settings find hands-on applications with the animals. Similarly, they can practice the interpersonal skills they work on in theoretical discussions.

Begin with Foothills at Red Oak Recovery Today

Do you worry about your loved one struggling with substance use issues or a video gaming addiction? Has there been depression, trauma, or a significant loss that your adolescent is grappling with? Maybe you notice that they’re struggling with their eating and you need to intervene before things get out of hand. Learn about the adolescent treatment center NC trusts today. Contact Foothills at Red Oak Recovery by calling 866-305-9078 today and learn how equine therapy can help your loved one.

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