Equine Assisted Psychotherapy with Suicidal Girls: Understanding the Changes over Time
Sammanfattning: The study investigated 17 suicidal girls attending Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) sessions as a complementary therapy. In particular, the study focused on three main issues. First, whether the patients’ happiness, warm emotions, awareness, relaxation, control, loquacity, and coordination improved over time. Second, whether riders and novices benefited equally from the therapy. Lastly, whether and how horse responsiveness and patient’s motivation affected the outcome. Individual Growth Curves analysis was used to answer these questions. The results showed a significant improvement in awareness and coordination, and a small change in warm emotion and relaxation over time. Moreover, previous riding experience was related to higher scores in warm emotions, awareness, control, and coordination. However, this effect faded over time as the clients became more familiar with EAP. Finally, the patient’s attitude, reflected in the horse’s responses, influenced positively the overall outcome. In conclusion, beginners might need more time in order to feel comfortable with the EAP environment. Thus, it is crucial to set appropriate goals. Additionally, patient’s motivation is an important factor for the success of the therapy, as it will be reflected in the horse’s responsiveness, and will eventually lead to greater improvements. Overall, the results suggested that patients’ experiences with horse riding, horse responsiveness, and motivation are important elements of EAP that are related to improvements in suicidal girls over time.
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