How Horses Help in Therapy Sessions

FAYETTEVILLE, AR (KNWA) - It's therapy seen and not heard, but through a different set of eyes. 

"When working with horses, even though there's no conversation, no explanation the issues just pop right to the surface," explains Marsha Wyatt, the horse specialist for The Unbridled Journey in Fayetteville. 

The Unbridled Journey works with individuals, couples and groups with needs ranging from team building to overcoming abuse. 

"The therapy is experiential, so someone goes into the arena with a horse and we have an activity designed specifically usually for what type of problems they're having," says Theresa Driver. 

Driver is an animal assisted play therapist in Fayetteville and has spent many years inside the traditional therapy office but "equine assisted psychotherapy" is different. 

"The most amazing aspect to me is the fact that it pretty much eliminates the first, 3, 4, 5 sessions that you would have in the office. It's almost impossible to hide what's actually going on with you, and if you are good enough to do that, the horse will tell us," she says. 

Driver and Wyatt make up the team of The Unbridled Journey. Not by riding, but just observing, the horses reveal things to the leaders that help guide a deeper conversation. 

"There's really no scientific explanation of it, it just plays out every time that we have a therapy session and we can see that the horses figure it all out before we even know what's going on," Wyatt says. 

The duo finds it's often easier for clients to interact and open up around the animals, than with another person in a one-on-one office scenario.

"When an individual can come to that conclusion on their own with the help of an animal who is so not judgmental, it's just an incredible outcome," says Wyatt.

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