Can Equine Therapy With Teens Reduce Incidences of Adult Obesity?
September 14th 2020
Collins Counselling, located in the beautiful city of Kamloops, provides a non-judgemental and safe space where people can examine personal experiences for understanding and resolving past traumas.
Our goal is to help our clients with personal growth allowing for that individual to become the person they want to be.
Our highly trained and qualified team at Collins Counselling use a unique approach to therapy with the use of horses within our Kamloops community. Our horses, co-therapists, communicate through body language which we find to be an incredibly effective method of therapy, better known as equine therapy.
Equine therapy is a type of animal-assisted therapy which partners licensed mental health professionals with experienced equine practitioners that structure sessions around the needs of their clients. There are several life skills that horses teach better than a person.
Can equine therapy with teens reduce the incidences of adult obesity?
Animal-assisted therapy is related to increased levels of oxytocin in adolescents. Studies of equine therapy have shown an increase in health-inducing and social inducing hormones such as dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins after even a short 20-minute session. Although obesity research is complex at best, the links between animal-assisted therapy, oxytocin and pre-adult/adult obesity offer exciting direction in the field of preventative care for obesity.
Interactions with horses provide a positive-feedback loop for teens and adolescents to recognize and respond to the emotions they are experiencing. Horses do not judge and as a result, teens feel accepted, safe, and unconditionally loved.
For someone unsure of counselling, horses can prove the motivation to attend. Many clients, including teens, have been unable, for various reasons, to engage in other counselling methods. Being able to connect and feel comfortable with the method of therapy is just as important as the therapy itself. The presence of an animal can often encourage someone to give counselling a try with building a relationship with the un-judgemental animal. Equine-assisted activities and equine therapy studies in youth have shown that connecting with animal companions lead to escalated feelings of hopefulness, joy, self-confidence, motivation, and overall increased positive health behaviors.
With the positive increase in overall well-being, teens have also reported a better quality of life, more competence and self-confidence lowered anxiety, as well as decreased levels of depression as a result of equine therapy. Therefore, equine therapy can be helpful for teens with eating disorders allowing for preventative measures to be implemented pre-adulthood, thus decreasing the chances of adulthood obesity. Further, a certain level of activity and strength is needed to interact with or ride horses which provide teens with motivation to learn and practise better self-care, an attribute they will likely carry on into adulthood.
The extremely qualified and experienced team of counsellors at Collins Counselling provides high-quality equine therapy to all their local and surrounding Kamloops areas in a safe and controlled environment. Our mission is to heal with the power of the human-animal bond. Simply being with an animal is good for us, emotionally, physically, and cognitively.
At Collins Counselling, we allow much time and space for our clients to simply “be with” our horses and to experience the peace, happiness, and acceptance of our amazing animals provide.