What Are Benefits of Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy?

Alpine Academy is known for offering equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) for students in individual and group sessions. Equine-assisted activities are seen as a worthwhile therapeutic approach for teens, children, families, and groups is because of many conditions and disorders respond well to it. According to Alpine Academy in Utah, abuse of substances, behavioral disorders, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and a variety of other conditions can be managed with EAP and assistance when combined with help from certified counselors. Alpine Academy realizes that many are not aware of the many ways that equine-assisted therapy can help children and teens. Here, Alpine Academy in Utah reviews just a few of its benefits.

Contributes to Stress Relief

People that are suffering from mental health problems or any of life’s obstacles may find it difficult to relax and clear their minds. Day-to-day stressors exist for us all, and it can be great for stress management to have the ability to take a step back and relax. Equine-assisted psychotherapy is cited as a process that is great for stress relief. One of the reasons for this is because riding and caring for a horse requires concentration. This means that your concentration on your horse may prevent you from dwelling on what is causing your stress or anxiety. Addressing our worries can be made easier when we can enjoy our time and find clarity.

Improves Communication Skills

Alpine Academy in Utah realizes that communication skills (verbal and non-verbal) are important to learn as they paint so many of our interactions with others. When we find it difficult to communicate, things can get lost in translation, situations can escalate, and it may limit our ability to have fruitful conversations. Equine-assisted psychotherapy is a great activity for individuals that need to hone communication skills for several reasons. Horses cannot be controlled by purely physical means, which means that riders must work on building trust through communication. Horses respond well to non-verbal cues as well, which can be helpful for people that are not up to talking or want to build skills in non-verbal communication.

Horses may not be able to speak in the traditional sense, but they are great communicators

Increases Self-Esteem

Teens that are experiencing low self-esteem may benefit from working with animals. This is because animals cannot criticize, mock, or accidentally make an offensive off-hand comment that may hurt feelings. Riding and caring for horses well reflect the work that you have put into it. For some individuals participating in EAP, riding boosts self-esteem because it produces a sense of pride and accomplishment. Riding a horse requires building a relationship founded on trust and respect. This can require work, and people who are willing to see it through are able to see the value of their hard work. According to Alpine Academy in Utah, complaints that we have about ourselves are often made more manageable as we take positive energy from EAP and apply it to obstacles that we face in our lives.

Builds Empathy

Empathy is an important trait to develop in our teen years because it helps us realize that there is a lasting impact to what we do or say to others. Equine therapy is seen as an excellent tool for honing empathy because of the relationship that is built with horses when we ride and care for them. As touched on before, horses cannot talk or share their feelings in a traditional verbal sense, but they are still adept at giving us clues as to what they are thinking. This may be emotions such as happiness or excitement or less than pleasant emotions such as fear, hesitancy, or anger. The rapport that we build with horses during equine assisted therapy keeps us in tune with the emotions that they are feeling throughout the process. When teens see that they can work as a team to overcome obstacles, they realize that their skills with empathy can be used to build upon other relationships in their lives as well.

Alpine Academy Examines the Mental Health Benefits of Exercise

Alpine Academy takes advantage of its proximity to easily accessible recreation to offer its students a wide variety of opportunities for both exercise and fun. The campus is near hiking and horse trails, bowling, swimming, and golf. At the Fitness and Arts Center, the school provides an athletic field and a range of indoor sports as well. Alpine includes exercise within its routine because physical activity can have an extremely positive impact on the mental health of its students. Here, Alpine Academy in Utah reviews some of the mental health benefits of exercise and how these positive changes empower students on their path.

Decreased Stress

There is a scientific bases to how exercise helps decrease stress. Exercise decreases stress hormones such as cortisol while increasing endorphins — which are known as your body’s “feel good” chemicals. This gives your mood a natural boost while you work out. Exercise can also decrease stress by giving young people an outlet for relieving tensions. Some teens have an issue with bottling up their stress or negative emotions until they are too difficult to keep them inside. With exercise, you can have a healthy coping technique built into your routine, helping you relieve stress and center yourself when you experience strong emotions.

Improves Overall Health

Alpine believes that our physical and mental health are linked, which can explain why we may not feel well emotionally when our physical health is not at its best. There are multiple ways that exercise can contribute to better overall health for teens. For example, exercise can improve sleep habits by helping them regulate their circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythm is our built-in alarm clock that controls how tired or alert we feel. Exercise also can increase energy and stamina, build endurance, contribute to weight loss, and reduce cholesterol while improving cardiovascular health.

Increases Self-Esteem and Confidence

Sometimes a negative self-image can be a contributing factor to unhealthy behaviors and routines, starting a cycle that can be difficult to break alone. Exercise can improve self-image and self-esteem in a variety of ways. For example, reaching goals because of regular exercise can give teens a large boost in self-esteem and confidence. Exercise can also help teens with their self-esteem and confidence by improving their overall health. The goal of exercising does not need to be to lose weight. After all, that in and of itself can reinforce negative self-image issues that do not necessarily make us feel more positive. Still, we often feel a definite difference in our health when we make a commitment to being more fit, and this can be an excellent way to drive confidence and improve our personal opinions of ourselves.

Reinforces a Healthy Routine

By nature, we are driven by routines. This can work in our favor or negatively depending on whether the habits that we develop are healthy. Alpine Academy promotes adding exercise into teens’ daily routines in part because it helps them create and develop healthy routines that can keep them on track physically, emotionally, and academically. When teens know how to develop positive routines, it helps them keep sight of goals and empowers them to remain positive as they work towards them. These skills help prevent them from backsliding on their progress and encourages them to find even more positive activities to add to their routine.