Brookhaven Retreat offers equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP) as part of our addiction and emotional wellness treatment program. EAP has proven successful in treating those with mental health issues by providing a powerful therapy for trauma and conflict resolution that incorporates teaching and practicing essential life skills.
Typically conducted in groups, a highly trained equine therapist and psychotherapist are responsible for facilitating the development of a relationship between a client and the horses.
Horses provide highly accurate feedback about personalities, attitudes and moods by mirroring human body language. The therapist observes the client interaction with the horses and helps to assess and process feelings, behaviors and patterns. A client who finds it difficult to set healthy boundaries in relationships may also allow a horse to nip at her hands or clothing. The client may misinterpret the aggressive behavior as affection, allowing the therapist to explore this misconception as a clinical issue.
With this unique therapy, talk is replaced by touch, movement and other elements not part of the traditional therapeutic environment. While riding is not incorporated into EAP, activities such as the grooming process - picking mud out of feet, untangling manes and tails and brushing the horse's coat - can help clients to work on issues such as nurturing, asking for help, isolation, dependence, performance anxiety, connection and intimacy.
EAP provides a platform for rapid, sustainable change and growth for the clients of Brookhaven Retreat, allowing them to move past the power of addiction and gain newfound independence.