Equine Assisted Therapy

Equine assisted psychotherapy, or EAP, is an experiential therapy that utilizes horses to interact with the client and is facilitated by the therapist and an equine specialist. Based on the “EAGALA” model, the therapist assists the client in examining their response to their interactions with the horse and the horse’s response to them. Horses are social animals and are very instinctual and intuitive by nature. They are powerful, yet capable of being gentle, affectionate and calming to humans. They often mirror human behavior and body language and can serve as a metaphorical vehicle for client insight. Horses never lie and are always honest and straight forward in their response to humans.

Communication skills, assertiveness, creative thinking, leadership, problem-solving, relationship skills, taking responsibility, teamwork, confidence building, trauma resolution, self esteem building, and increased insight into how others perceive us and the attitudes we project, are some of the skills used and developed in Equine assisted therapy.

The focus of Equine assisted therapy is not riding or horsemanship. No experience with horses is necessary. The session is conducted in a safe environment with safety, for both client and horse, as a number one priority. Both individual and group sessions are available and can be structured for therapeutic, personal growth and learning purposes, such as corporate team building, school leadership and confidence building, or group cohesion and resiliency.

Elizabeth Ossip, LCSW is EAGALA trained and has a lifetime of equestrian experience.