Trauma Focused – Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
Trauma Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy has two components, Relationship Logic and Rhythmic Riding. This treatment modality utilizes the relationship with the horse, combined with the rhythmic pattern of the horse’s movement, to heal from the exposure of trauma and other life stressors.
Relationship Logic is an experiential intervention. During Relationship Logic, each participant will identify a horse they will begin building a relationship with. As they begin to build a relationship with this horse, participants will re-create and engage in behavior patterns they are accustomed to and have utilized throughout their lives. It is the goal of Relationship Logic to facilitate and influence the client to acknowledge and understand the problems that exist. As this occurs, the psychotherapist and equine specialist will guide the participant in developing healthier behaviors and techniques to managing emotions and behaviors.
Rhythmic Riding consists of both psychoeducation regarding the physiological responses to stress, and how to properly manage these responses in a healthier manner. Common emotional regulation techniques addressed in Rhythmic Riding sessions are controlled breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, positive self-talk, and mindfulness. The techniques utilized are similar to those addressed in Cognitive Behavioral treatments. Participants will also be educated on the neurological effects that exposure to trauma and chronic stress can have and the disorganization that can occur in the brain. As a participant progresses through Rhythmic Riding sessions, they will learn to ride the horse to the tempo of music being played while also learning to recognize their bodies response to stress and regulate these responses.