The team at Foothills at Red Oak Recovery understand that experiential therapy is an essential modality. 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 of these is equine therapy.

What Is Equine Therapy?

young man feeding a horse during equine therapyWorking 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 horse or leading it around.

To ensure the safety of all participants, staff members have a horse trainer accompany the groups. 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. Everyone receives safety training as well as instructions for interacting with the horses.

The Purpose of Equine Therapy

At Foothills at Red Oak Recovery, we like to refer to this modality as equine-assisted psychotherapy. 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, almost everyone loses their fears when interacting with these gentle creatures. Therefore, typical behavioral patterns soon take over.

How Experiential Therapy Benefits Participants

Therapists gain valuable insights into patterns that they can address during sessions. Most importantly, participants also benefit from this type of experiential therapy in multiple ways. For starters, their self-esteem receives a boost. They feel good about themselves when they can lead a large animal to go where they direct.

Next, there’s the opportunity to solve problems and cooperate with peers. When there are multiple riders, they work out an order. Similarly, if there is limited space in one area of the field, people have to compromise and plan. Therefore, they strengthen their communication skills and practice patience and negotiation tactics.

For some participants, equine therapy is the first time that they’ve asserted themselves. Others find it’s an excellent practice for mental flexibility. Because therapists encourage peer interactions, participants learn independence. Most importantly, they boost their abilities to control impulsive behavior.

Incorporating Equine Therapy with Other Treatment Approaches

Experiential therapy is one of the most critical treatment opportunities that your adolescent will undergo. 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 as a way to receive peer input and support while learning in a safe environment
  • Mental health treatment center where professionals customize treatment for each participant
  • Individualized care that might include substance abuse or trauma 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 abuse 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.