Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy for Addiction
Healing with Horses
Rocky Mountain Treatment Center is a residential program in Great Falls providing inpatient treatment for alcohol and drug addictions. We have been in business for over 32 years and have treated thousands of individuals and their families. We employ a variety of programmming with our clients, including individual, group, and family counseling. Rocky Mountain Treatment Center is one of a limited number of addiction treatment programs nationally and the only program in Montana to offer Equine Therapy. The Rocky Mountain Treatment Center’s horse program is located at Eagle Mount of Great Falls. Clients at Rocky are encouraged to elect to participate in this highly effective program.
Jessica Hofer is a Licensed Addiction Counselor at Rocky Mountain Treatment Center who recently received certification from the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International as a PATH certified instructor. Historically, horse therapy has proven highly effective with children and adults with physical and developmental disabilities. Recent studies support that horse therapy, while valuable and necessary, is primarily conducted in a clinical setting. Equine Therapy for addiction adds an experiential dimension that compliments other therapeutic work.
The premise is quite simple: Human beings can and do mask truth through language. Those in the throes of addiction have become dependent upon the manipulation of truth as a way to preserve, protect and continue their addiction. Horses communicate primarily non-verbally and are open with their feelings and emotions. Horses have the wonderful ability to mirror a person’s internal emotional condition, which reveals areas where therapeutic progress can be made. Clients learn about themselves by experiencing direct, hands-on exercises that raise awareness and develop better interpersonal skills, such as maintaining healthy boundaries, recognizing emotions they are experiencing and gives them tools to improve previously damaged communication skills. Better communication skills means better relationships; better relationships promote healing and recovery.
“I’ve always loved horses, but didn’t fully realize the connection between us. Watching the horse circle the ring, slowing to a slow meandering walk as I slowed my heart rate & began to relax. It was if I was looking into a mirror of my emotions. It gave me a deeper sense of myself and what behavioral changes I needed to make. Truly something that no counselor could have done.” ~ Colton
We feel very fortunate to have this program here at Rocky Mountain Treatment Center.