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Healthcare provider perception and knowledge of equine-assisted psychotherapy : a survey of providers in Oregon

By Kirstyn Everson

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A study was conducted to evaluate healthcare providers’ knowledge and perception of equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP). The knowledge transfer model was utilized to develop the project and to identify areas for future inquiry. For the study, a literature review was conducted and mental health specialists were queried to identify common misconceptions about the therapy. Out of this exploration, a survey was developed that asked questions specific to these fallacies. The project was vetted and approved by the Oregon Health & Science University institutional review board (IRB), an Oregon-based hospital’s IRB, and the administration of a local clinic. The survey was then sent to approximately 650 medical and mental healthcare providers throughout the state of Oregon. Participation was voluntary and anonymous. At completion of the survey, the participants received an informational handout about EAP to save for their files. The survey yielded a 15% response rate. Results were compiled and released in aggregate form through SurveyMonkey and analyzed anonymously using SurveyMonkey tools. Descriptive statistics were displayed in chart form and compared responses to EAP questions with participant demographics. The survey revealed that the majority of healthcare providers were misinformed about how the therapy is conducted, how it is covered financially, how it varies from other animal-assisted therapies, and who conducts the therapy. Medical providers and those in practice more than 10 years were more likely to have misinformation about the treatment. Limitations of the study were addressed, and recommendations were made for future studies.


Katie Carroll

Date 2015
Publisher OHSU Digital Commons
Department School of Nursing
Degree Doctor of Nursing Practice
Language English
University Oregon Health and Science University
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal-assisted therapies
  2. Equine-assisted activities
  3. Equine-facilitated psychotherapy
  4. Health
  5. Health care
  6. Horses
  7. Human-animal bond
  8. Mammals
  9. Oregon
  10. Psychiatry and psychology