How Equine-assisted Therapies are used as Mental Health Treatment in Kids
Researches and studies have proved that animals have therapeutic values. Animals work as an excellent source of emotional and psychological support for humans. From time immemorial, people have been using this therapeutic value of animals to treat physical and psychological disorders.
Due to the effectiveness of EATs, it’s becoming a tool for treating mental health ailments like stress, anxiety, PTSD, etc.
Avenues Where Equine-Assisted Therapies are used
The beauty of equine-assisted programs like equine therapy Virginia lies in the fact that it can be used in a variety of settings. People of all ages and in any condition can benefit from horse-based counseling.
However, it’s important to note that equine-assisted programs are not prescribed as a standalone treatment. Instead, it is suggested as a complementary therapy.
Contrary to most traditional treatments and therapies, equine therapy encourages the clients to get outdoor and experience connection with other beings.
Therapeutic horse riding and young kids with mental health issues
Equine-assisted therapies like therapeutic horse riding are effective in treating children and teens as much as veterans and adults. Children are also susceptible to trauma, abuse, depression, anxiety, and other psychological ailments. Moreover, they find it hard to cope with their experiences and end up having trust issues, communication problems, relationship troubles, etc. Therapeutic equine programs are aimed at offering such kids an environment where they can feel safe and confident. Such programs are more inviting to young kids as compared to in-office counseling sessions.
For a young child, expressing and processing their trauma and experiences is hard and challenging. But with horses, they can be aware of their emotions and feelings. This allows them to address their feelings at an early age. The EATs in children are aimed at helping the child develop self-awareness, social skills, trust, empathy, confidence, problem-solving skills, and more.
Why are horses used for therapeutic programs?
Horses are Unbiased Animals: Although therapists try to create a safe environment for a client to open up about their emotions, clients often find it challenging to disclose their thoughts. They fear that the therapist might judge them. Building trust is crucial in treating the disorder.
When children are with horses, they don’t fear being judged. They can be themselves in the presence of the horse.
Horses give quick feedback: Horses are vigilant beings who are sensitive to the emotions of others. Horses are known for mirroring the feelings and behavior of the clients. This is essential in teaching a sense of self-awareness in children. If a child is fearful or stresses around the horse, the horse will sense their emotion and act accordingly. This will alert the child to divert their attention from stress.
Horses help in managing vulnerability: There are times when the client is unable to open up about their past instances. The horse can help them address it through feelings and emotions. The client can use the horse to process their feelings.