Once a week, clients travel to stables nearby for Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) with our certified, equine assisted therapist who is a HPCSA registered psychologist. EAP is a psychotherapy technique using horses to facilitate and promote healing and change in people who are not functioning effectively within their daily lives.
Clients do not ride the horses, rather, the therapist conducts experiential, hands-on activities using the horses to facilitate the group with the participation of the clients. How clients respond to these experiences or activities provides valuable information to the therapist who then gives clinical feedback to the team at Stepping Stones. Because horses are perceptive and sensitive to the clients, they are able to read the body language of the clients and accurately relay to the therapist the internal state of the clients. The horses mirror responses often unknown to the client such as fear, guilt, anger, feelings of inferiority which assists the therapists and clients to reach a better understanding of themselves.
In the ten years that we have been offering EAP, we have seen our clients become more in touch with their emotions and how to express those feelings, we have seen them develop insight in relation to their interpersonal styles and how that effects their loved ones, and we have seen our clients learn how to change dysfunctional behaviour to empowered effective behaviour.
One on one psychotherapy with a dedicated counsellor, who is either a psychologist, occupational therapist or social worker complements our group work. Clients suffering from a coexisting mental health condition or exhibiting symptoms of a mental health condition will also have individual psychotherapy with one of our attending psychiatrists.
Wherever appropriate, we encourage family to be part of the recovery process. Our family day assists members to understand the dynamics of addiction, share their experiences with others and begin their own healing. Facilitated family sessions ensure a joint understanding of the way forward. For those too far away to attend we make use of technology to connect.