Equine Assisted Therapy

Equine Assisted Therapy

Equine Assisted Therapy at Spot to Talk follows the Eagala (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) model and always involve a team of four-members: the client(s), a licensed mental health professional, a certified equine specialist, and the heard of horses. These one-on-one or group sessions are structured to meet therapeutic goals set by the mental health professional and/or the client(s) ahead of time. All of the work is done from the ground with the horses front and center and allowed to interact with the client as they wish. This creates the space for the client, with the support of the processional facilitators to reflect, project and make deep connections. No previous horse experience is necessary.

Why Horses?

Horses provide a unique element to therapy sessions where clients can interact with highly sensitive beings without feeling judgement from another person. They are intelligent prey animals who have evolved to be extremely sensitive to their environment. They instinctively analyze and react to our body language and other nonverbal cues providing us with valuable feedback and insights for other areas of our lives.

It’s hard to ignore a horse with their size and presence. We can’t just control a powerful horse. Approaching horses helps us reflect how we approach our relationships and how we can face other big or overwhelming things in our lives. Horses are social animals with defined roles within a herd. They have distinct personalities, attitudes, and moods. They could be stubborn or they could be playful. In other words, horses are a lot like us.

Erica Gerber, Certified Equine Specialist, and Claire Wick, Licensed Mental Health Specialist

Equine Assisted Therapy can be used and is effective in 1:1, family and group therapy settings, and it has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD*, specifically.

Issues that can be addressed during Equine Assisted Therapy sessions include, but are not limited to:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance Use Disorders
  • Grief & Loss
  • OCD
  • Trauma & PTSD
  • Identity Formation
  • Parent-Child Relationship Challenges

If you are ready to schedule your first Equine Assisted Therapy session please connect with us here.

* Equine-assisted therapy for anxiety and posttraumatic stress symptoms. Earles JL, Vernon LL, Yetz JP J Trauma Stress. 2015 Apr; 28(2):149-52.

* Lefkowitz C, Prout M, Bleiberg J, Paharia I, Debiak D. Animal-assisted prolonged exposure: A treatment for survivors of sexual assault suffering posttraumatic stress disorder. Soc Anim. 2005; 13(4): 275–96.

* Holmes CM, Goodwin D, Redhead ES, Goymour KL. The benefits of equine-assisted activities: An exploratory study. Child Adolesc Social Work J. 2012; 29(2): 111–22.