What is EAP?

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
— Winston Churchill

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is a short-term, high-impact resource shown to be effective in psychotherapeutic treatment of individuals, families or groups.  It reaches clients in a way that traditional office therapy cannot.

EAP sessions (similar to ropes courses) are experiential, problem-solving tasks designed to stretch the mind in new directions. They place clients in a new setting – with horses – to learn new strategies to solve life’s problems. EAP does not focus on riding or horsemanship.  In fact, 90% of EAP takes place entirely on the ground.

Watch a video that shows what EAP is all about at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7E2E181689D2B749

How do horses assist in psychotherapy?

Like humans, horses are social animals with distinct personalities, attitudes, and moods. Sometimes they might seem stubborn and defiant. But horses are always honest, making them especially powerful messengers.

Horses have an uncanny ability to mirror exactly what clients’ human body language is telling them. Clients often complain, “This horse is stubborn. That horse doesn’t like me …..” This can reflect when a client is stubborn or may not like themselves or others. Clients quickly learn that as they change, horses respond differently.

Horses provide perfect opportunities for metaphorical learning. The EAP therapist easily employs metaphors in discussion and activity with the client, as an effective mirror for even the most challenging life situations. Clients quickly understand how their behavior with horses extends to their relationship with people and how changes in their behavior will improve their relations with others in life.

Horses exert subtle but profound influences on people. As clients develop a relationship or trust with a horse, we see a dramatic therapeutic impact on individuals, youth, families, and groups.