Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) -New Innovative Experiential Approach Makes the Difference
EquiSteps and Advanced Equine Rhythm are our trademark programs that are setting a new standard in Equine Assisted Therapy. The Last Resort has honed a unique methodology, unlike any other equine programs offered for drug and alcohol treatment centers. Our programs combine 12 step work with physically/emotionally safe experiences with horses and a sound theoretical approach informed by current neurobiology research of the addicted brain. For many clients struggling with issues of addiction, there is a need for more than traditional talk therapy. Our unique EAP program meets these needs.
EAP at The Last Resort is not your typical trail ride with a monotonous, unengaged animal. We believe that healing takes place in the context of relationship. Addiction causes interpersonal difficulties and for many clients, they have found that a relationship with a substance is better and more predictable than with humans. Many who struggle from addiction lose contact with themselves, as well as others, and turn to substances as a coping mechanism. The nature of a horse is to seek connection and respond to authenticity. Our EAP model focuses on building a relationship with the client-horse-therapist to repair interpersonal connections often underlying addiction. At The Last Resort, horses are not used as merely tools, but as vehicles to form a true connection with our clients. The genuine, nonjudgmental, and accepting nature of horses provides the bridge to connecting with others in a positive, authentic way.
Neuroscience reveals that sensory input, specifically rhythmic, repetitive motion (such as on the back of a horse) is effective at forming new neural pathways in the brain. In EAP sessions, clients consistently practice self-regulation which gives them skills to calm their body and enable them to cognitively process more clearly. In addition to groundwork, our programs use mounted work to provide the sensory movement that organizes the brain and produces new neural pathways for change. By engaging different areas of the brain, clients begin the cognitive process of understanding what their needs are and exploring healthy ways to meet them.
The novelty of our EAP experience promotes change as old belief systems are challenged while mastery and confidence are gained. Clients are empowered by their success with horses, new interests are explored, and novel ways of being in relationship are discovered. Unlike talk therapy, EAP brings clients out of automatic pilot, dissociation, and distraction to engage with their 1,200 pound horse partner week after week. EAP has been shown to have more rapid therapeutic response rates because of the direct, powerful approach and intimate relational aspects. EAP teaches clients the skills to handle the stress and chaos of life without using substances.
- Decreases anxiety/depression
- Novelty, mastery, achievement
- Provides sensory input
- Experiential (thinking, doing, problem solving)
- Interactive, challenging and fun
- Sense of control /agency
- Increases self-esteem, confidence
- Instills hope
- Felt body awareness activates the mind
- Emotionally and spiritually stimulating
- Practice regulating emotions
- Overcome fears