Equine therapy, aka equine-assisted therapy (EAT), is a form of experiential therapy that involves interactions and activities with horses. It does not necessarily involve riding horses, but all activities related to horses, such as feeding, grooming, haltering and leading them. A mental health professional frequently oversees the activities (often in conjunction with a horse professional), and helps patients process their thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns during and/or after the interaction.
Experiential therapy is a form of therapy in which clients are encouraged to surface and work through subconscious issues by engaging in real-time experiences. Experiential therapy departs from traditional “talk therapy” by involving the body, and having clients engage in activities, movements, and physical and emotional expression. This can involve role-play or using props (which can include other people). Experiential therapy can help people process trauma, memories, and emotion quickly, deeply, and in a lasting fashion, leading to substantial and impactful healing.
Animal therapy (aka pet therapy or animal-assisted therapy) can be very healing, as it allows patients to bond with animals, who give unconditional love. This is particularly useful for those who suffered trauma by the hands of people, who may be able to trust and form closer attachments to animals than humans at certain stages of rehabilitation.