Psychotherapy turns to horses to help people open up

Posted on March 3, 2014

A growing number of therapists in Australia are swapping consultation rooms for corrals and using horses to heal people with mental health conditions.

Equine psychotherapists are qualified mental health practitioners trained to facilitate sessions with clients and horses.

Equine therapy is based on the premise that horses help people express themselves more openly and honestly. Therapists also guide clients to interact in different ways with horses to help them discover more positive ways to relate to people.

''Horses offer authentic responses, especially for people hurt in human relationships,'' said Meggin Kirby, psychotherapist and founder of Equine Psychotherapy Australia (EPA). ''I can work without horses, but it can take a lot longer.''

Horses are herd animals so they are inherently social. They are also prey animals that react quickly to perceived threats, to changes in their environment, and even to changes in people's attitudes. This means horses give immediate feedback when clients approach them in different ways.

Source material from The Sydney Morning Herald

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