Equine therapy is one of the most cutting-edge techniques available today for troubled teens. This therapeutic modality offers a variety of proven benefits that not only help teens to work on their own emotional and social development, but also inspire a type of healing that may be difficult to achieve with traditional therapy. Read on to learn more about equine therapy’s benefits and how you can get your teen involved.
How Horses Help
Horses make ideal partners in helping teens through personal struggles because they are herd animals with a social order, just like humans. Horses seek out companionship and to find their place in their herd’s social structure. Does that sound familiar? When teens spend time with horses, they must assess and figure out the relationship they have with their horses, while the horses try to do the same. How teens handle this progression is often indicative of how they process and view relationships with other people. Each horse has its own personality, attitudes, fears and moods, and they are sensitive to the energy around them. They respond to human interaction, allowing teens to experience a connection to the horse without any of the baggage that comes with human relationships. In this way, a teen’s interaction with a horse helps her to learn about herself and her interaction with others.
Learning Crucial Life Skills
Since horses react with fear to anger, bullying or frustration, this helps a young girl to immediately witness the effects on others of her emotions and attitudes. Horses will not respond to yelling or aggression, forcing the teen to find more effective ways to communicate.
Because horses also do not judge, nor do they have an agenda, it’s easier for teens to let down their guard and recognize their own dysfunctional behaviors. In other words, the horse provides a safe place for teens to learn about themselves and their emotions, and to find more productive and positive ways to interact. This results in an improvement in teens’ self-confidence and trust, allowing them to learn to control their anger or redirect it in more productive ways.
Horses are also large and powerful animals, so approaching and interacting with them forces a young woman to confront her fears and insecurities. Teens learn how to keep their fears in check, how to remain calm and how to move forward even with an underlying sense of self-doubt. This builds leadership skills as well as self-esteem.
How to Learn More about Equine Therapy for Girls
Equine therapy is especially beneficial for girls and young women facing emotional struggles or mental health challenges. Havenwood Academy offers customized residential treatment programs for teenage girls struggling with depression, anxiety and related conditions. Experiential and traditional therapies form the basis of Havenwood’s effective and well-respected programs. Contact them today to learn more about how equine therapy can help your daughter or another young woman in your care.