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An Exploratory Mixed Methodology Study Into the Theoretical Foundation of Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy

By Bradford Tyler Dawson

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Abstract

Equine-assisted psychotherapy is emerging as a new alternative therapy method. As the field is new, there is limited amount of research looking at the current theoretical foundation being utilized in the therapeutic process. This study aims to explore the field of equine-assisted psychotherapy and its current theoretical foundation. The main question guiding this study was: What are the therapeutic theories and themes guiding the current practice of equine-assisted psychotherapy? The study consisted of six in-person qualitative interviews with current practitioners of equine-assisted psychotherapy. A short Likert-type scale was also used to quantitatively gather descriptive statistics about theories currently being used by these practitioners. The results of this study yielded interesting findings about the similarities between equine-assisted psychotherapy and traditional office therapy. The use of horses in therapy creates new dynamics to be addressed in the therapeutic process. The practitioners interviewed in this study agreed on many different aspects about the application of equine-assisted psychotherapy to clients displaying characteristics of trauma, anxiety, depression, and boundary issues, but also had dissenting opinions about other aspects of the practice. The generalist model of social work practice is utilized in the questionnaire. This method of questioning found that the use of the generalist model is applicable to the field of equine-assisted psychotherapy.

Submitter

Katie Carroll

Date 2014
Department School of Social Work
Degree Master of Social Work
URL http://scholarworks.lib.csusb.edu/etd/67/
Language English
University California State University of San Bernardino
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Tags
  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Equine-facilitated psychotherapy
  3. Farms
  4. Horses
  5. Human-animal interactions
  6. Mammals
  7. theoretical framework