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Saying 'neigh' to traditional therapy

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Membership in the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association, one of the two main North American professional groups for EFP, has grown by 78 percent in the past year as more farms and psychologists learn about the various ways in which horses can be incorporated into therapy. (Laura Anthony/Courtesy of Horse Sense of the Carolinas)

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Equine-facilitated psychotherapy allows patients to receive instant feedback from horses, thereby providing a sense of immediate accomplishment for certain tasks. This contrasts sharply with more theoretical discussions of potential action to be taken to overcome problems regarding control, anger or other psychological issues that are common in office-setting therapy sessions. (Liza Sapir/Courtesy of Horse Sense of the Carolinas)

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The horses used in most equine-facilitated psychotherapy sessions are not specially trained. In fact, many were rescued from abusive owners and have traumatic backgrounds, which doctors say helps them relate to patients with similar histories. (Laura Anthony/Courtesy of Horse Sense of the Carolinas)

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Equine-facilitated psychotherapy allows patients to receive instant feedback from horses, thereby providing a sense of immediate accomplishment for certain tasks. This contrasts sharply with more theoretical discussions of potential action to be taken to overcome problems regarding control, anger or other psychological issues that are common in office-setting therapy sessions. (Liza Sapir/Courtesy of Horse Sense of the Carolinas)

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Moving beyond the "tell me about your mother" approach, some psychotherapists are using horses to facilitate the therapeutic process. It is an innovative mental health approach that is gaining traction across North America.


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