What do horses and overcoming chemical dependency have to do with one another? At Phoenix Rising, equine therapy is one treatment option for clients in rehab. It works well even if you aren’t a horse person. Here’s what the treatment brings to the table.

Why Equine Therapy Works

equine therapy programOur California dual diagnosis treatment center routinely works with individuals who need more than behavioral counseling. Remember that addiction’s a disease that affects the whole person. It isn’t just in the mind. Similarly, it doesn’t only change the body.

An equine therapy program is a personal development tool. It emphasizes introspection, which results in emotional growth. It starts out easy enough by just brushing the animal. A trainer is nearby to guide you through the interaction.

As you feel more comfortable with the gentle animal, you begin leading it. You might feed it, too. Horseback riding isn’t necessary to benefit from the interaction. For some, equine therapy can lead to a breakthrough.

This is typically the case for someone dealing with a mood disorder. If you have a type of anxiety disorder, interacting with the animal could be instrumental in building self-esteem. Besides that, participation in an equine therapy program works because it takes you out of your element. You have to step out of a comfort zone.

Similarly, you have to trust that the therapy is worth the effort. As you do so, you begin to relax. Because many of the tasks are routine, your mind wanders. That’s a good thing.

You now have time to process the things you learned during psychotherapy. Maybe there was a conversation you had with a loved one that you still need to digest. Now’s a good time. Making plans for a sober future is also something that takes place as you brush a horse.

Integrating Equine Therapy with Evidence-Based Practices

You begin to enjoy your time with the horses. Nobody’s talking to you. In fact, you might be the one doing the talking while interacting with the animal. You feel like you can hear yourself think.

There are no distractions. Of course, an equine therapy program has to be part of a comprehensive care plan. It’s not something that can stand alone in your fight against chemical dependency. Other treatments might include:

  • Detoxification, which takes the drug out of the equation in a safe, pain-free setting
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy that encourages you to switch out adverse pattern actions with positive ones
  • Dual diagnosis treatment for clients with mood or personality disorders that contribute to substance abuse
  • Trauma informed care that lets you work through a situation from the past that continues to interrupt daily life
  • Group therapy with peers who’re learning to relate to others while sober

Family Therapy is a Cornerstone for Recovery

Your loved ones are an integral aspect of daily life. However, there are times when they contribute stressors. That said, they’re also in need of healing. That’s why Phoenix Rising recognizes the importance of bringing in family members.

During equine therapy, you might think through the things you heard while in a relationship counseling session. Some won’t be pleasant. Nevertheless, it’s essential to get things out in the open with the help of therapists. You and your loved ones learn how to communicate effectively and gently with one another.

There’s No Bad Day to Start Treatment

You don’t have to wait for a special occasion to seek help for chemical dependency. Because the condition progresses and worsens consistently, time is of the essence. Find out how equine therapy could make a significant change in your life today. Renew your mind, body, and spirit at Phoenix Rising by calling 855.232.8211 now.