Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is therapy through horses to address mental and emotional health needs.
EAGALA sets the global standard for Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and personal development and is the leading international nonprofit association for professionals incorporating horses to address mental health and personal development needs.
The EAGALA Model is an experiential therapy that drives change. It is: Client-centered. Solution-oriented. Evidence-driven.
And it is considered effective because it is a hands-on model based on science that humans learn best through doing. The model prescribes a hands-on approach where clients are given the space to project and analyze their situations, make connections, and find their own solutions.
Since the solutions are personally experienced in conjunction with intellectual understanding, they tend to be deeper, more profound, and longer lasting.
Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy and personal development programs are experiencing rapid growth around the globe because of strong outcomes.
Research shows horses add a compelling dimension to the clinical experience. They serve as powerful living metaphors and stand-ins for the challenges and opportunities clients face in their lives.
There is power in experiential learning with horses. Equine therapy incorporates the use of horses to facilitate positive, long-lasting behavior changes. As horses are incredibly intuitive creatures, interacting with them helps to build self-esteem and a connection with something outside ourselves. A horse’s sensitivity to nonverbal stimulus gives them an amazing ability to read people and reflect our emotional states. Horses have an incomparable understanding of the feelings and emotional stress that a person is going through.
Equine-assisted work often helps clients change and grow more effectively and quickly than traditional clinical and psycho-educational approaches. That’s because people typically learn best by doing. Life lessons take deeper root when individuals both understand them in their heads and experience them in their bodies. Working with horses is engaging, real-time, and hands-on. The experience is immediate and fully felt.
A client who has trouble managing anger, for example, can only learn so much by talking about it out of context in a therapist’s office. Progress can be slow and results hard to sustain. But when the client has the opportunity to practice new coping skills with 2,000-pound herd animals whose survival depends on their ability to read and react to the inner turmoil of those around them, experience leads to change because the process is real, practical and sustainable.
In the right professional hands, using a proven professional model, horses have the power to help clients practice new ways of engaging with the world without judgment or shame.
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