Horses are powerful, emotional creatures. They’ve lived alongside humans for thousands of years and throughout that time, humans have formed close bonds with them. It’s these close bond that make equine therapy for teens so effective.
A recent study by the University of Rostock in Germany shows that human-animal interactions increase levels of oxytocin, also known as the “bonding hormone”. This in turn triggers an increase in trust towards others, enhances empathy and learning, lowers fear and anxiety, and improves pain management. This is of particular relevance for teen girls and assigned female at birth struggling with emotional and behavioral difficulties such as trauma related struggles, depression, anxiety. Through equine therapy, trust can slowly be regained.
Why equine therapy?
Equine therapy is based on the idea that horses mirror the emotions and behaviors of the people that surround them. This makes equine therapy for teens such a pivotal inflection point for intervention. They are non-judgmental and have no preconceived notions about the people they are interacting with. Much like humans, horses are social animals who live in herds and have distinct personalities. This makes it easy for teens to relate to horses, when they see something of themselves in a horse. Other benefits of equine therapy include further development of:
- impulse control
- understanding nonverbal cues
- a renewed sense of trust
- decreased feelings of isolation
- self empowerment
- communication skills
Equine therapy allows teen girls and assigned female at birth to learn the importance of, and how to, manage their emotional energy in order to communicate their thoughts and needs more effectively and avoid the occurrence or reactivity when responding to others. Learning these concepts in a controlled environment, like equine therapy, is a huge step towards improved social skills, emotional regulation, communications, and healthier relationships.
Solstice can help
Solstice, a residential treatment center for teen girls and assigned female at birth ages 14-18, helps teen girls and assigned female at birth work through difficulties such as depression, trauma-related issues, and anxiety. Solstice utilizes equine therapy to help girls and assigned female at birth improve socially and emotionally through a close bond with the horses on campus. Solstice’s experienced, caring staff (and animals) have helped hundreds of teen girls and assigned female at birth find success and happiness.
For more information about Solstice, please call (866) 278-3345.