What is horse assisted psychotherapy?

Horse assisted psychotherapy (or Equine Assisted Psychotherapy; EAP) is a kind of psychotherapeutic tool which asks/'uses' the help of a therapeutic horse to cure mental illnesses and pathologies in the psyche of the human beings. 

Equine assisted psychotherapy differs from 'normal', traditional, psychotherapy in many ways. Firstly, it takes place in the wild nature and is not locked  among the four walls. Therefore the therapeutic frames are more different. In horse assisted psychotherapy a therapist and a horse have to create continuously the frames, because there are no walls and a door to keep a patient in the therapeutic setting. In traditional psychotherapy usually there is a therapist-patient diad. In EAP we use the dynamics which is created by the horse-patient-therapist triad. Usually this therapy has the same dynamics as the traditional one has, but it gets more information by the help of this 'oedipal' triad-dynamic. 

EAP differs from a horse riding session. The aim of the latter is to teach a rider to ride a horse better and better. In order to achieve this aim, a riding instructor  uses pedagogic tools which speed up the process and help a rider to reach performance better. Thus she/he gives instructions and makes a rider to repeat tasks. Differently, the aim in EAP is to help a patient to reach a better functioning-level: to feel himself/herself better. Therefore, using this analytical therapeutic method we let the patient choose what she/he wants, and she/he can do, try and repeat whatever is allowed with horses in a safe therapeutic setting.