Mental health problems take a toll on the lives of many people. Even their families are affected by these problems. Today, there are many treatment options that can help people cope with everyday stress and their mental health issues.
One of the most promising is the use of horses in counseling patients and their families. Humans and horses have, according to The Horse’s Way, maintained a healthy relationship for thousands of years. But besides being transportation tools over the past years, horses are key players in mental rehabilitation.
For instance, counseling services have used horses to help patients cope with mental illness. Here are other ways equine-assisted psychotherapy can help in the field of psychology.
1. Horses help patients process feelings
Many people living with mental illnesses or addictions have unwanted negative thoughts and feelings. To deviate from these thoughts and feelings, they usually turn to compulsive behaviors. In horse-assisted counseling, patients learn to identify unprocessed feelings and cope with their emotions.
Horses can, in fact, sense emotions. As a result, they can react to them in a way that helps the patient. If the patient sees the horse’s reactions, they could become aware of their own feelings.
2. Horses aid in overcoming fear
People with mental health problems often have intense fears. Moreover, they have a problem with coping with this. In horse therapy, the patients learn to overcome their fear given that horses are huge animals.
Other than that, some people might worry that the horse wouldn’t like them or the horse could hurt them physically. Despite these fears, patients can learn to cope with the intense emotion and deal with the problem.
3. Horses teach people trust
People with mental health problems have difficulty in trusting others. They usually guard their feelings and emotions against others, fearing that other people might not understand them.
The presence of these horses alone can be healing since they are naturally gentle animals. They do not judge and manipulate people. As a result, people learn to trust these animals. In the long run, patients can learn to trust other people as well.
Horses are not just animals; they are gentle and straightforward beings. They are helpful for people with emotional and mental problems. With mental health being a complex issue, new innovations and positive progress in treatment options are always welcome.