Equine Therapy and ADHD - How it Works?

October 14th 2020

Collins Counselling, located in Kamloops, BC, takes a unique approach when it comes to healing and living a better life with the help of animals and horses. 

For myself, I grew up with horses that provided me with support and sanctuary when things got tough and inspired me to dream when the possibilities of life were endless. With my lifelong passion for horses as well as psychology and helping others, combining the two for equine therapy only made sense.

As such, at Collins Counselling we combine evidence-based relational counselling, somatic experiencing therapy, and cognitive behavioural therapy with neuro-biologically-oriented paradigms. We strive to work and develop for our clients a treatment plan that is specific to their needs, values and beliefs by following three main principles: making sure the individual and horse are both safe, working within the values and principles of our clients and building a stronger community with resourceful and resilient people.

When it comes to neurodiverse conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD),equine therapy has proven to be incredibly beneficial not only because animals provide emotional support but because horses also have the capabilities of mimicking human emotions and behaviours. 

ADHD symptoms range from having a short attention span, hyperactivity — whether it’s verbal or emotional — fidgeting or restlessness, being disorganized and having mood swings to difficulties multitasking, getting distracted easily and not being able to control anger or frustration.

To that end, working with horses can help people with ADHD gain confidence and reduce certain behaviours, such as a lack of focus. Other benefits of equine therapy include: decreasing aggressive behaviours, reducing other mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, helping to adjust and adapt to daily situations, improving social skills, developing relationships, learning to trust one’s self and others and broadening social skills.

While equine therapy doesn’t involve the physical act of riding horses, it is a process where clients interact with the animal guided by a clinical professional and an equine specialist rather than discussing any issues — which is why it is especially beneficial for ADHD patients.

Equine therapy provides a hands-on experience that takes all the focus of the individual and places it on the surroundings, attention, mindfulness,  boundaries and social cues.

At Collins Counselling, we work with the three main responses in life — mental, emotional, and physiological — to build an understanding and awareness of each client we work with. Additionally, we work to see how the response to the body affects our thoughts and emotions and how our thoughts affect our body and emotions.

Additionally, we also work on exploring relationships between people and the emotions developed due to those relationships, which can create a deeper and stronger understanding with the help of equine therapy. Horses have amazing capabilities of giving feedback on how to relate to other people and can tell us if we are being authentic and true to ourselves and others.

To learn more about equine therapy, contact us today to see if it might be the right fit for you or a loved one.

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