PTSD is a very complex affliction that brings together symptoms from many modalities of the mind. They’re all connected so it’s necessary to treat them all together—cognitive, emotional, and physical/experiential. Traumatic experiences inundate you through all three of these modalities and by using experiential therapy such as EAP, all three are used in the recovery process. Many times, traditional talk-therapy struggles to effectively instill the required behavioral changes necessary for a sustainable recovery from PTSD. Furthermore, talk-therapy can’t offer real-time feedback and the opportunity to quickly try multiple strategies for communicating such as EAP offers.
The horse acts only as a partner and many times as a mirror for how the patient is seeing the world and how the patient is responding to that world. EAP has been proven across the world as being highly effective in treating patients with PTSD and has a solid track record of enabling dramatic results in fewer sessions.
Equine assisted therapy does not require the long process of establishing the connection between therapist and patient or achieving a certain trust level (as traditional “talk therapy” requires) because the real interaction takes place between the client and the horse. In additional contrast, people do not fear being judged or exposed by the horse, accelerating the time it takes to make progress.
Since EAP is done in an open and non-traditional environment, patients tend to be much more relaxed and less anxious than in a traditional talk-therapy session. Furthermore, the action and task-based approach removes much of the stigma that many soldiers have about therapy.
Most importantly, people enjoy coming to their sessions—they look forward to it.