Doctor of Psychology
Trauma related symptoms and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have been increasingly recognized for the key roles they occupy in mental health and overall individual well-being within both adult and childhood populations. They often represent significant barriers to the provision of mental healthcare within military populations and individuals diagnosed with serious mental illness (SMI). This original contribution to practice explores the significance of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy as a novel adjunctive approach to treating trauma. symptoms in adults and children. An extensive literature review examines current research and discussion on common definitions and nomenclature. It begins with discussion on the broader areas of Human Animal Interventions and Animal Assisted Interventions and narrows to Equine Assisted Therapies as readers are led to focus on Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) for treating trauma. This is followed by a comprehensive review of the current empirically based research on EAP and its specific uses in the provision of trauma-focused mental healthcare. Commonly occurring themes, within the literature base, are identified and further explored. They centered on the current applications of EAP, methods employed in the provision of EAP for trauma, and issues with research design and methodology. General conclusions indicate EAP is likely an effective adjunctive approach to more traditional models of trauma focused psychotherapy. However, several significant barriers to the production of rigorous future research must be overcome to further define specific mechanisms of action while validating a standardized nomenclature and manualized EAP treatment protocol.
Theresa Botts, Ph.D.
Michael McClellan, Ph.D.
Dustin Wygant, Ph.D.
2022 Kara L. Harrison
Harrison, Kara L. Psy.D., "Equine Assisted Psychotherapy: Implications for Treating Trauma" (2022). Psychology Doctoral Specialization Projects. 26.
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