Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy: An Emerging Trauma-Informed Intervention

Page Walker Buck, Nadine Bean, Kristen de Marco


Equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) has emerged as a promising, evidence-based intervention for the treatment of trauma and stressor-related disorders. This experiential therapy offers an option for clients whose traumatic experiences render traditional talk therapies ineffective. Initial research on the most robust model of EAP, developed by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA), indicates strong, positive effects for children, adolescents and adults who have experienced trauma. EAGALA was designed to allow for rigorous evaluation of efficacy, a clear theoretical base, standardized implementation, and ongoing training for practitioners. As the primary providers of mental and behavioral health services in the United States, social workers are keenly aware of the need for a portfolio of treatment methods to manage the increasing demand for services. EAP has emerged as an important addition to this portfolio, providing options for some the most vulnerable client populations.


Equine-assisted psychotherapy; trauma-informed; trauma and stressor-related disorders; EAGALA

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18060/21310

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