Wendi Adams (formerly McCutchen), LCPC, CADC
About Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP)
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) incorporates horses experientially for mental and behavioral health therapy and personal development. It is a collaborative effort between a licensed therapist, a horse professional, and horses to address treatment goals. EAP can be an effective stand alone treatment approach, or it can be added to EMDR as a way to enhance it's effectiveness.
EAP is experiential in nature. This means that clients are allowed the opportunity to learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses, and then processing (or discussing) feelings, behaviors, and patterns. This approach has been compared to the ropes courses used by therapists, treatment facilities, and human development courses around the world. But EAP has the added advantage of utilizing horses; dynamic and powerful living beings.
Not all programs that use horses practice Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. The focus of EAP is not riding or horsemanship, but rather, involves setting up ground activities which includes the horses. By also utilizing the trainings of Natural Lifemanship, the concept of healthy attachment and detachment as well as rythmic riding techniques help to encourage non-verbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking and problem-solving, leadership, healthy responsibility, boundaries, relationships, and confidence are several examples of the tools utilized and developed.
EAP is a powerful and effective therapeutic approach that has an incredible impact on individuals, youth, famlies, and groups. EAP addresses a variety of mental health and behavioral issues including PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), attachment disorders, substance abuse, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, relationship problems and communication needs.