Equine Psychotherapy/Equine Therapy: Salt Lake City, UT
Horses live in the present moment and are inherently drawn to interaction with people. When they engage with people, they do so genuinely, with no ulterior motives nor negative intent. If they do react poorly to people, it is most often because they have been treated poorly in the past; though, with caring attention, horses will come to forgive. Horses are pack animals, and prey animals, and as such, are constantly in tune to their environment. They communicate clearly to one another and to us, and trust their instincts in responding to the communication from other horses, and from people.
Because of this clear ability to communicate effectively and congruently, horses can help people identify ways in which their interaction patterns are effective or ineffective. Horses tend to act as mirrors to people, often reflecting their emotions, and their actions. This immediate feedback is powerful in helping people to change problematic patterns.
However, what we believe is most important is the relationship a client can develop with a horse. In some forms of equine assisted psychotherapy, the horse tends to be used as "an object" that helps the therapist and client create a certain outcome. Shadow Mountain believes, instead, in facilitating the relationship between the client and his/her equine partner, allowing the horse to act as a horse, and learning from his/her natural behavior.
Because interactions with horses can largely non-verbal, equine psychotherapy can help those who have a difficult time communicating directly, whether that be due to difficulty identifying and expressing emotions, difficulties trusting others, or other anxiety-related issues. Our work with horses focuses on presence, breath and engagement with the body, things that can be difficult for those with eating disorders, past trauma, and attachment/abandonment issues. Being around horses, and being present with them, tends to improve mood, self-esteem, and ability or willingness to engage in the world, thereby proving to be helpful in addressing depression and anxiety.