Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP)
15th March, 2010
It is often reported that having animals around us can have a therapeutic effect, and encourage a sense of wellbeing. But what about a therapy session with Horses?
As an up and coming therapy in the UK, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is becoming more and more popular as an alternative to traditional talking therapies. Alongside an equine professional and facilitated by a qualified therapist, clients are taken on a journey of exploration through their interactions with their chosen horse.
It was in 2007 when Ulrika Jonsson explored the use of EAP in her documentary Ulrika: Am I A Sex Addict? Walking among the herd, Ulrika was asked to pick a horse to work with. She picked the first Horse that approached her. The therapist asked Ulrika to explain her choice. Ulrika replied ‘...well he was the first to show me attention’. The therapist replied ‘is this how you pick a partner Ulrika’? Ulrika replied ‘I’ve never really thought of it really...but yes, I guess it is’. And so the process began.
The most touching part of this documentary was when Ulrika struggled to take the lead with Red her chosen horse. The therapist asked Ulrika to stop and speak of what she was feeling. Ulrika was silent. Quietly, and without warning Red moved toward her nestling his nose upon her stomach as if to feel her sadness. Ulrika burst into tears ‘I have so little faith in myself’ she whispers.
With stars such as Gazza reporting positive effects with EAP, it is becoming more and more popular as an alternative to traditional talking therapies.
Gazza reports “The first time we went to work with the horses we were taken into the field and were encouraged to interact with them. I was stood near this one particular horse and as I was thinking about it, it came over and started nudging me. It was incredible. It is a fairly new type of treatment and some people might think it sounds odd but believe me, it is very powerful.”
EAP is an up and coming therapy in the UK, but is used all over America and Canada as a treatment for Addictions.
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