Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy Illinois

Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy Palatine, ILEquine-assisted psychotherapy Palatine, IL offers is sometimes referred to as EAP, EAT, or “equine therapy,” refers to activities with horses that are conducted while being supervised by a mental health professional who is also an equine specialist. Equine therapy has been used to treat anxiety, ADHD, eating disorders, addiction, depression, and many other mental health conditions, and, in addition to targeting symptoms of those disorders, is theorized to help patients build confidence, self-awareness, and empathy. During an equine-assisted therapy session, the client will typically engage in basic care-taking activities with the horse with the help and direction of the therapist; common examples include grooming the animal, feeding it, and leading it around an enclosure. They may also take on more complex activities, such as creating a basic obstacle course for the horse and guiding them through it. (Riding the horse is not a part of this therapy.) The mental health professional and the client will usually discuss what occurred, what was learned, and what behaviors or emotions they might target moving forward. EAP is an evidence-based treatment that allows the client and therapist to incorporate the horse as a kind, calming, non-judgmental mirror of themselves. Horses are especially attuned to humans’ emotions and nonverbal signals and they respond accordingly. Particularly patient, perceptive, and attuned to displays of fear, anger, agitation, and despair, horses are able to mirror human moods in a nonjudgmental way, without motive or expectations. As the person in therapy bonds with the horse, self-awareness grows and emotional healing often takes place.

Tonka – The Therapy Horse
Mein Liebling (My Darling in German, aka Tonka) is a roughly 11-year-old Haflinger cross gelding. Tonka was rescued at the age of three from a kill pen auction in Pennsylvania. Little is known about Tonka’s background or even age prior to being rescued. Prior to finding his way to Emma in 2018, Tonka was trained as a dressage horse in New Jersey and spent his winters in Wellington Florida. Since joining Emma’s family in 2018, he has become a barn favorite, family pet, shown in dressage, western dressage, eventing, pleasure shows, drill team, and is now a therapy horse. Tonka’s favorite foods include bananas, apples, carrots, sugar cubes, and ice cream. 

Emma Kane, Therapist
Emma has been riding and working with horses for nearly her entire life. Starting in grade school, Emma began riding lessons, quickly becoming share boarding and owning her own horses. She began working in a barn by the end of middle school and spent every spare second learning about and spending time with horses. Since then, Emma has fully emerged herself into the equestrian world, at times working multiple full-time jobs in the field. She has assistant managed a boarding and show facility, groomed and been a working student for various trainers local to the Olympic level, competed successfully in hippology, horse bowl, and horse speech in 4H, been named United States Dressage Federation Youth Volunteer of the Year, competed successfully in multiple disciplines at local to world show levels, worked for a veterans organization specializing in working with horses, and is currently the Vice President for the Illinois Dressage and Combined Training Association as well as a PM Delegate for the United States Dressage Federation. Emma is thrilled to be able to blend evidence-based therapeutic techniques while sharing her love of and healing power of horses with her clients. 

Contact us today at Lotus Wellness Center to discuss your therapy options, like equine-assisted psychotherapy, and ask all of the questions you may have!

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy FAQs

Palatine Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is becoming an increasingly popular form of therapy. People often have questions about how it works, how to get started, and what to expect from the experience. Whether you’re looking to learn more about EAP or are considering therapy for yourself or a loved one, these questions below will provide helpful information to get you started. Find out the most common questions we receive, and then contact Lotus Wellness Center for help.

What is Equine Assisted Psychotherapy?

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is a form of therapy that uses horses as a form of therapy. It is often used to help people with emotional, mental and behavioral issues, including anxiety, depression, anger management, and trauma. The therapist will use the horse’s behavior and responses to help the patient gain insight into their own thoughts and behaviors. Through activities such as grooming and playing games with the horse, patients can learn about themselves and develop trust and confidence. The therapist will also offer support, guidance, and feedback to the patient during these activities. This can be an extremely powerful and transformative experience for those who engage in EAP.

How Does It Work?

It works by allowing clients to interact with horses in a safe and structured environment. Through various activities, the horse helps the client become aware of their thoughts, feelings, and behavior. This can include activities such as grooming, leading, and riding. The therapist works alongside the horse and client to help them identify how their thoughts, feelings, and behavior affect each other, as well as how their interactions with the horse can be used to create change in themselves. During the session, the therapist provides guidance to help the client explore their feelings and develop strategies for managing them.

Who Can Benefit from It?

Palatine Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is a therapeutic intervention that can benefit individuals of all ages and backgrounds. It has been used to effectively treat a range of psychological issues, including depression, anxiety, trauma, and substance abuse. EAP can help individuals gain insight into their behavior, relationships, and emotions by engaging in activities with horses. Working with horses gives individuals the opportunity to build skills such as problem-solving, communication, empathy, and trust. By engaging in activities with horses, individuals are able to learn more about themselves and gain a greater sense of confidence and self-awareness.

What Are the Risks?

EAP is a safe and non-invasive form of therapy, but as with any animal-assisted activities, there are some inherent risks. For example, if proper safety protocols are not followed, there is the risk of falls or being kicked or bitten by the horse. Also, some people may experience distress when interacting with animals and can be overwhelmed by the emotions that arise. To reduce the risk of injury or emotional distress, it is important to work with a trained professional who can provide guidance and support. By following safety protocols and working with an experienced practitioner, the risks of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy can be minimized.

How Much Does It Cost?

Cost depends on your certain situation and how many sessions are needed. To get a better idea of the cost of Palatine Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, contact Lotus Wellness Center today for more information.