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Animal Assisted Therapy at The Raleigh House

Animal Assisted Therapy at The Raleigh House

At The Raleigh House, we embrace nontraditional yet evidence-based approaches to recovery. Equine-assisted psychotherapy offers a highly effective therapeutic solution, allowing clients to benefit from horses’ natural herd dynamics and sensitivity to nuanced physical impulses. Interaction with horses in a controlled, safe setting helps guests achieve a level of self-knowledge they might not have previously experienced. This can be a powerful healing tool.

Types of Animal Assisted Therapy

Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy

Along with other specialized therapy programs, we offer equine-assisted psychotherapy on our 40-acre Colorado wellness lodge. Our clients are encouraged to participate in this immersive intervention under the guidance of a licensed therapist and handler.

Horses possess a natural capacity to recognize even subtle stress signals in humans and animals. When a horse senses hesitation or anxiety, that horse will respond directly and empathetically. This helps the client and the handler address the underlying feelings surrounding a particular action, memory, or experience.

We offer two categories of equine-assisted psychotherapy.

  1. Equine-Assisted Growth And Learning Association (EAGALA Model): This technique offers hands-on experience working with horses in a controlled, safe environment. With the help of EAGALA-certified professionals, clients are allowed to address issues and concerns that they might not be ready to explore during traditional talk therapy.

    During EAGALA sessions, guests work with horses and their trained handlers on the ground — no riding. Through the horse/client interaction, the client and therapist can identify underpinning emotions and reactions through the horse’s responses.

  2. Trauma-Focused Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (Natural Lifemanship Model): This equine-assisted therapeutic model offers a combination of ground and mounted work designed to address concerns related to severe emotional trauma. This type of intervention involves the client developing a relationship — and partnership — with a horse to build strong attachment and detachment capabilities.

    Equine-assisted psychotherapy helps clients reduce anxiety and externalize their focus. The act of caring for an animal — or even being in proximity to an animal — can help foster feelings of trust and security by creating an emotional bond.

Through our therapist-guided treatment, clients are allowed to explore deep-seated emotions in a safe, structured environment. The service animals enable clients to process complex feelings without requiring them to articulate their struggles before they are ready.

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Benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy

Studies have shown that clients experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health challenges benefit from engaging with horses, ultimately enhancing their self-awareness and becoming more comfortable within a group setting.

The benefits of animal-assisted therapy include:

  • Improved communication. The presence of animals can provide an emotional outlet. Clients who are uncomfortable voicing their feelings often use the company of animals to communicate their thoughts in indirect ways.
  • Improved socialization. Being in proximity to an animal can help people with attachment and trauma disorders engage with others more easily.
  • Stress reduction. Being in the presence of animals can help reduce the production of the stress hormone cortisol while releasing dopamine, the neurochemical that causes feelings of wellbeing.

The Raleigh House Animal Assisted Therapy

At The Raleigh House, we view animal-assisted therapy as a highly beneficial intervention for people struggling with substance use disorder with co-occurring mental health challenges. Our comprehensive approach to addiction recovery allows clients of all backgrounds to discover the most effective paths to sobriety. When you’re ready, we’re here to help.

If you Struggle with Addiction, Don’t Wait. Contact us Today.

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