Equine Assisted Psychotherapy


Camino Recovery is one of Europe’s leading centres for Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP). Our Programme Director Don Lavender, a pioneer in this field, has written extensively on the subject and has published a book entitled ‘Equine Utilised Psychotherapy (Dance With Those That Run With Laughter)’.

By studying the interaction between human and horse in a variety of activities, the psychotherapist can gather a great deal of information. On a much deeper level the largely non-verbal, emotional work can be carried out in an experiential manner which is highly effective for those who are unable to talk about their feelings. The horse will react to the humans´ emotional state, offering insight and awareness.

Horses are prey animals they have evolved to fit into a herd, to do this effectively, horses have learned to engage with those around them. When you are around a horse, for practical (i.e. survival) purposes, you are part of the herd. If one member of the herd is startled, then the entire herd respond in less than a second, a survival mechanism. Hence, horses are able to respond to the emotional state of humans.

EAP uses a highly structured, activity-based approach to promote personal growth, responsibility and provides resolution from trauma. Focused EAP is designed to enhance healthy interaction, empower people positively and break down the barriers that prevent positive communication. It is a rewarding and effective treatment for addiction, depression, anxiety and other mental health issues including post-traumatic stress.

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EAP uses interaction with horses (not horse riding) to help you gain clarity over boundaries and relationships. Like EMDR it is an effective treatment for trauma, which is a common contributory factor to the addictive process.

It helps you to:

  • Build bonds of trust and support.
  • Improve verbal and non-verbal communication within relationships.
  • Gain personal insight into boundaries and relationships.
  • Increase your attention span and your readiness to learn about yourself and others.
  • Build your confidence and self-esteem.
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