Equine Therapy in Recovery
This form of therapy is led by Nina Ekholm Fry, MSSc. and features an approach that we find to be quite beneficial for each of our residents. Equine therapy revolves around the use of horses to provide a nonjudgmental and trusting partner for a resident to take care of. By feeding, brushing, and caring for another living being, it often helps to alleviate the pressures of stress and anxiety on our newly sober residents.
Nina has specialized in equine-assisted therapy for the past 10 years and she is a fellow of the Institute of Human-Animal Connection at the University of Denver and an executive board member of the National Certification Board for Equine Interaction Professionals (CBEIP).
During her time as an equine-assisted therapy specialist, Nina has worked with populations of residents diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), trauma, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), anxiety, addiction and at-risk youth, service members and veterans. Her therapeutic approach to animal husbandry has numerous benefits to those in recovery as she details in her facilitation workshops and her work as editor of The Scientific and Educational Journal of Therapeutic Riding.
We often see residents that have experienced child hood trauma, struggles with depression and anxiety, mental health disorders, or severe stress and anxiety respond to this form of treatment. Caring for another being starts to give purpose that is often lacking in the lives of those that experience these sorts of conditions. By caring for another, it teaches the skills that you’ll ultimately need to care for yourself, all while making you more open to suggestion, and increasing your ability to communicate and heal in a safe and therapeutic environment and under the supervision of a professional.
During their time in equine therapy, residents develop a relationship with a horse while learning how to care for it and tend to its basic needs. Feeding, grooming, exercise and even basic behavioral training are all parts of the therapy.
Our residents are big fans of equine therapy as well. Spending a few hours a week with the horses often breaks up a day of meetings, group therapy, and the day-to-day life on our campus. This special time allows residents to connect with one another over a shared love of animals, and the bonds formed during this process are powerful and beneficial steps toward sustained recovery.
There therapy gives purpose to the lives of the residents, as well as the horse. The symbiotic relationship grants both horse and human a new lease on life while providing benefits to mental health and well-being. In addition, it allows the residents to enjoy time outside, form bonds, and learn practical skills that carry over into day-to-day life. All the while they are having fun and creating an experience that lasts long after their time at Prescott House comes to an end.
If you want to find out more about our equine therapy program don’t hesitate to contact us today. We’d love to talk to you about this and other creative therapeutic outlets intended to get – and keep – each of our residents sober, safe, and happy.