Equine Therapy

This experiential program allows patients to apply what they’re learning in a creative way.

On-Campus Horse Therapy Program

Equine therapy is the guided practice of working through cognitive and behavioral principles by interacting with horses in a treatment setting. It is known as an experiential therapy because it allows patients to physically participate in an activity as they process and actualize what they are learning. Equine therapy at Brighten Bay currently consists of psychotherapy, which involves “groundwork” interactions with horses, empowering the mind-body connection. (Note: No horseback riding takes place during treatment.)

How Does Equine Therapy Contribute to Eating Disorder Treatment?

Eating disorders involve an intricate web of psychological beliefs and physical coping behaviors. They are often associated with high social sensitivity and poor self-perception, and they can be complicated by the presence of other mental health conditions. Eating disorders may also manifest from subconscious impulses to cope with trauma in one’s childhood or background, so processing trauma is a key element of fostering recovery from these conditions.

Equine therapy is an excellent fit for eating disorder treatment because horses are very intuitive creatures. They mirror human behavior, allowing patients the chance to observe their own attitudes and behaviors as they notice the responses of the horses.

“You can’t hold a facade or a boundary with them, they will see right behind that,” at Brighten Bay “They really bring in what is really truly there. …They teach you how to have those boundaries that we sometimes forget we have or that we need. They get to be themselves and we get to learn from them and learn about ourselves.”

In addition to facilitating trauma resolution, equine therapy offers the opportunity for patients to form authentic connections — not just with horses, but also with peers and staff. And like other experiential therapies, it allows patients to apply new knowledge in a safe environment. As they interact with horses, patients have time to work through and process what they are absorbing in their treatment sessions.

Talk to Us About Eating Disorder Treatment

At Brighten Bay, we have the experience, expertise, and understanding to treat individuals with EDs and any other co-occurring conditions. Our research-backed program is focused on giving individuals ownership of their recovery as we equip them to thrive, both now and in the future. We also provide resources for families to heal and support their loved ones on the journey to healing. If you or a loved one are suffering from binge eating disorder, get in touch with us today to learn more about how to get started.