Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is a treatment modality which incorporates a mental health professional, an equine specialist, and horses. EAP has proven to have a profound impact on individuals, couples, families, and groups. It addresses a variety of mental health needs including chemical dependency, depression, grief and loss, eating disorders, anxiety, communication issues, attention deficit disorders, autism spectrum disorder, emotional and behavioral issues, and relationship challenges.
The Team Approach – An Equine Specialist, a Mental Health professional, and horses work together with clients in all EAGALA sessions.
Focus on the ground – No horseback riding is involved. Instead, effective and deliberate techniques are utilized where the horses are metaphors in specific ground-based experiences.
Solution-Oriented – The basis of the EAGALA Model is a belief that all clients have the best solutions for themselves when given the opportunity to discover them. Rather than instructing or directing solutions, we allow our clients to experiment, problem-solve, take risks, employ creativity, and find their own solutions that work best for them.
Code of Ethics - EAGALA has high standards of practice and ethics and an ethics committee and protocol for upholding these standards, ensuring best practices and the highest level of care.
The Team Approach
The Horse: Horses have many characteristics which lend them to being effective agents of change, including honesty, awareness, and ability with nonverbal communication. The role of the horses is for them to be themselves.
The Equine Specialist (ES): The ES chooses the horses to be used in sessions, works with the MH to structure sessions, keeps an equine log to document horse behaviors in sessions, stays aware of safety and welfare of clients, horses, and team, and makes observations of horse which can bring in potential metaphors.
The Mental Health Professional (MH): The MH is responsible for treatment planning, documentation of clients, and ensuring ethical practice. The MH builds on the ES’s horse observations, bringing in the metaphoric and therapeutic/learning relevance of the session.