How Horses Help Recovering Addicts

equine therapy

Addiction is a complex disease, and successfully treating it requires a multi-pronged approach. Along with medical detoxification and a residential treatment program, alternative methods such as equine therapy can give people the confidence and skills they need to reshape their lives and learn to live in sobriety.

What Is Equine Counseling?

Equine therapy is a form of animal-assisted therapy that allows recovering addicts to work with horses. Forging a bond with a horse through regular interactions can help you learn to process difficult emotions, improve your self-worth and allow you to express yourself in new ways. Taking care of a horse’s basic needs, such as grooming, will give you a sense of responsibility and respect for another living creature.

Research has proven a wide variety of benefits of spending time around non-human animals. Specifically, pets and therapy animals can help improve your mental health by alleviating stress, anxiety, depression and feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Horses evolved to live in herds and to be prey animals for large carnivores. Over the millennia, these two qualities shaped them into excellent nonverbal communicators. These gentle creatures allow you to experience nonjudgmental trust and unconditional love, and the self-esteem you’ll build as a result will be vital to your ongoing recovery process.

What to Expect in Equine Therapy

Many people have found equine therapy to be a valuable complement to the traditional continuum of addiction care, which is why we’re proud to offer it at New Found Life. During your equine counseling sessions, you will be able to observe, interact and learn from our specially trained and selected horses in a variety of settings.

You don’t need any experience around horses to benefit from equine counseling. Even if you’ve already become an accomplished rider, this form of therapy is different from what you may have learned in your previous training. For each session, our certified equine therapists team up with a mental health professional to create a safe, nurturing environment for each of our clients to work on their emotional and spiritual growth.

Many recovering addicts struggle to interact with others and to form healthy, lasting relationships without the crutch of drugs and alcohol. Working with horses will help you understand how to open up to people. It can also allow you to learn how to live more mindfully, which will improve how you view yourself and those around you.

Get the Help You Deserve

New Found Life has added equine counseling as a holistic therapy for our clients to take advantage of, alongside the full slate of evidence-based treatments that make up our residential, outpatient and extended-care programs. Regardless of where you find yourself on your recovery journey, you can find the compassionate care you need at our Long Beach addiction treatment facility.

We understand addiction is a chronic illness that requires various forms of treatment, including individual and group counseling, relapse prevention and psychiatric care. If you choose to add equine therapy to your customized care plan, we will support you every step of the way. Contact us to learn more and verify your insurance coverage.