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How Does Equine Therapy Work?

Teen learning how equine therapy works

Animal-assisted therapy is extremely useful in helping people living with mental health issues. Horses, dogs, and even dolphins have been used in animal-assisted therapy programs to help treat conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Equine therapy is one of the most popular methods of animal-assisted therapy, but how does equine therapy work?

Our equine therapy program can help your son with mental health or behavioral issues. Call 888.904.5947 to find help from our South Florida center.

What Is Equine Therapy?

Equine therapy, also known as horse therapy or equine-assisted therapy, involves interactions between clients and horses. It is based on the idea that working with animals can have a positive impact on mental health and well-being. During these sessions, clients work with horses, doing things like:

  • Grooming and caring for the horses
  • Leading them through obstacles or exercises
  • Riding or simply spending time with them in a calm environment

Teens can especially benefit from equine therapy as it helps them build confidence and self-esteem while also developing important life skills such as responsibility, empathy, and communication.

How Does Equine Therapy Work?

This form of therapy works by creating a safe and non-judgmental environment for clients to work on their emotional, social, and behavioral issues. Horses have a natural ability to sense and respond to human emotions, making them ideal partners in therapy sessions. Some benefits of equine therapy include:

  • Improved self-awareness and regulation
  • Increased confidence and self-esteem
  • Better communication and interpersonal skills
  • Reduced anxiety and stress levels

Additionally, working with horses can also help clients develop trust, patience, and problem-solving skills. The process of building a bond with a horse involves establishing clear boundaries and effective communication, which can translate into healthier relationships with others.

What Does Equine Therapy Help With?

Teens living with mental health and behavioral issues can find relief from equine therapy. It’s commonly used for teens with:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • PTSD and trauma-related disorders
  • ADHD and other neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Substance abuse issues

The gentle nature of horses can also be beneficial for teens struggling with anger management or low self-esteem. Equine therapy can help them develop a sense of control and responsibility, which can lead to more positive behaviors. It’s important to note that equine therapy is not a standalone treatment and should be used with traditional therapy methods.

Does Your Teen Need Help?

Teen mental health is a challenging issue that can be difficult to recognize. Lashing out, isolation, substance abuse, and problematic gaming are all surface-level issues that could be signs of a deeper problem. Your teen might need help if:

  • They struggle in school – Missing deadlines, forgetting to complete homework, and falling behind can all stem from mental health challenges. When your teen can’t navigate their emotions or cope with difficult situations, their academic performance will likely suffer.
  • They have trouble fitting in – Do you notice your teen struggling to make friends or feeling disconnected from their peers? This could be a sign of social anxiety or depression, making it difficult for them to connect with others. Equine therapy can help teens build confidence and improve their social skills.
  • They experience mood swings – While mood swings are normal during the teenage years, extreme highs and lows can be a sign of an underlying mental health issue. Equine therapy can help teens learn to regulate their emotions and cope with stress in healthier ways.

If you believe your teen could benefit from equine therapy, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Family First’s South Florida center offers a safe and supportive environment for teens to work through their challenges with the help of our professionals.

Call Family First Adolescent Services in Florida

How does equine therapy work in our residential programming? We pair clients with horses for interactive sessions that complement other therapy methods, psychiatric support, and family involvement. Our services are exclusive to teen boys 13–18, allowing them to connect with other teens their age who are facing similar challenges. Call 888.904.5947 or contact us online to speak with our admissions team about enrolling your son at Family First.