Study Finds Equine-Assisted Therapy Reduces PTS in Youth

The field of mental health services is widely undeserved and in dire need of expansion – in our beautiful of State of Vermont as well as nationwide. Equine assisted mental health interventions have been practiced around the world for decades and anecdotal reports support the benefits. Here is an article about a study from Tufts University that revealed the equine assisted intervention in youth with mental health concerns, particularly PTSD, has a lasting impact on the client’s recovery.

Youth in the treatment group participated in 10 weekly two hour EFP sessions, and were compared on changes in post-traumatic stress symptoms with a control group of participants who continued to receive the already existing traditional therapeutic services provided by their treatment facility or outpatient therapist.

Findings suggested a significant decrease in post-traumatic stress symptoms across the intervention for both the treatment and control group, but the treatment group did not decrease significantly more than the control group. These findings suggest that EFP may be an effective additional treatment modality for post-traumatic stress symptoms, but there was no evidence from this initial study that EFP was significantly more effective than traditional office-based therapy. Further research and discussion of the relative benefits of EFP compared to traditional treatment modalities is warranted.

Paul Haefner PhD, of the Horses and Humans Research Foundation board of directors, stated: “This research project was exceptionally significant because it put Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy on the map. It shows that this professionally facilitated treatment is a viable option. It gives us an important recognized tool when working with troubled youth who urgently need a treatment option that will help them progress during vulnerable time in their lives.”

Read the full article here.