Does Equine Therapy Benefit Dual Diagnosis?

Equine therapy is a form of therapy that uses horses to teach therapeutic lessons and encourage growth and wellness. While traditionally used with troubled youth, it has been found to have positive effects on dually diagnosed people. In recent years, equine therapy has become an evidenced based form of treatment for primary substance use disorders and dual diagnosis.

Dual diagnosis refers to a person who has a co-morbid mental health and substance use disorder. People who use drugs or alcohol are twice as likely to have depression and anxiety related disorders. People with untreated dual diagnosis also have higher rates of relapse.

People who treat one disorder and not the other are less likely to succeed in treatment. Examples of common dual diagnosis are Post Traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD) and alcohol use disorder, depression and opiate dependency and attention deficit disorders and cocaine dependency.

Alcohol and drug use can be taken to self-medicate the symptoms of mental health disorders. Some people use to focus more, cope with depression, and deal with traumatic memories. For many dually diagnosed people, they may feel unable to cope with the mental health symptoms without the use of drugs or alcohol.

Benefits of equine therapy include increased confidence, increased self esteem, improved social skills and better impulse control. Equine therapy works well for people who have difficulty with traditional talk therapy. Talk therapy is formal, whereas equine therapy is outdoors and with less focus on traditional conversation. Equine therapy naturally encourages positive mental health and mindfulness.

In an equine session, a therapist is present to talk and guide. Time is spent grooming and walking the horse. What is so interesting about equine therapy is that it encourages experiential discussions. The therapist may challenge the client to make connections between their life and what they are observing in and around the horse.

Equine therapy teaches mindfulness. Mindfulness is a proven method for coping with cravings, anxiety and other symptoms. Mindfulness encourages awareness of your surroundings and regulation of emotions. Being around a horse will also encourage mindfulness by not startling the horse, being outdoors and taking care of the horses needs for gentleness and attention.

Equine therapy teaches an alternative coping method. Instead of self- medicating with substances when trauma or depression symptoms present, schedule an equine therapy session for a safe and unpressured place to process your feelings. Even if you do not talk, you are receiving benefits from the session.

Choosing the right path of recovery is important for you and your family. Helping you bring recovery home is important to us. Hired Power is a family of experienced recovery professionals, serving to provide your family with dynamic services for every step of the recovery process. Call us today for information on our services: 714-559-3919

Most Recent Blog Posts

5 Ways To Forgive Yourself In Recovery

    Sometimes, in active addiction, we do things we aren’t proud of. We may have hurt the ones we love, do things we are ashamed of, and caused harm to ourselves. We may feel guilty, embarrassed, and angry. Although you may have gotten substance abuse treatment and are...

    Read More

    Recognizing A Problem With Alcohol

      It can be fun and relaxing to go out for drinks with your friends on Friday nights after a long work week or have a cocktail before bed. Many people drink alcohol and do so regularly, but how do you know when your drinking has become a problem? When many of us think...

      Read More

      Which 12-Step Program Is Right For Me?

        12-Step programs are a common part of addiction recovery. Many treatment programs utilize a 12-Step approach, and many of those recovering choose to attend meetings after they complete their treatment. Attending meetings can help individuals maintain their recovery...

        Read More


        21062 Brookhurst St. #201, Huntington Beach, CA 92646

        ©2021 All Rights Reserved. Design & Development by Goldman Marketing Group | Sitemap | Privacy Policy The information available on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. This information is not intended to replace a medical consultation where a physician's judgment may advise you about specific disorders, conditions and or treatment options. We hope the information will be useful for you to become more educated about your health care decisions. If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact us at