Viktorija Palubeckienė1, Sigita Lesinskienė1
1Vilnius University Medical Faculty Psychiatric Clinic, Vilnius, Lithuania
Introduction: Equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP) is experiential form of psychotherapy that incorporates horses into therapeutic process. EAP is a goal-directed method that is implemented by qualified mental health and equine professionals using carefully selected horses.
Aim of the study was to overview the literature on EAP, its basic principles, therapeutic mechanisms, application possibilities and to describe one clinical case report.
Methods: Literature on both animal and equine-assisted therapy was analyzed. A case report on a fourteen year old girl suffering from emotional disturbances and low motivation for the counseling is was described. Results. During the course of EAP improvement in emotional regulation and social skills was observed. The anxiety levels decreased and strong therapeutic bond was formed allowing the client to continue counseling in a traditional setting without a horse.
Conclusions: The horse-client bond together with client-specialist relationship helps to process painful emotions and experiences and to develop lacking psychosocial skills especially when working with unmotivated clients with a history of intra-familial violence, eating disorders, resistance to traditional counseling.