Topic: The Role Equine Assisted Therapy in the healing process of individuals diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Several people are impacted by Post Traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD) every year. There are various types of therapies that are used to aid in the recovery of PTSD. An emerging field of Therapy is Animal Assisted Therapy or Learning (EAT/L). This literature review is going to look at the role of a particular type of Animal Assisted Therapy which involves horses as therapeutic aids. Equine assisted therapy has various conceptual models and factors that can have great positive impacts on Individuals diagnosed with PTSD.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that some people develop after seeing or living through an event that caused or threatened serious harm or death (Health, N.D.).
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs when a memory of a traumatic event is perceived to presents a viable current threat to the individual (Ehlers & Clark, 1999).
There are various key aspects that lead to the perception of a current threat in PTSD.
The first being the individual differences in the appraisal of the trauma. The second aspect or process leading to PTSD is the individual differences in the nature of the memory of the event and its links to other memories (Ehlers & Clark, 1999).
The symptoms of PTSD may include flashbacks or bad dreams, emotional numbness, intense guilt or worry, angry outbursts, feeling “on edge,” or avoiding thoughts and situations that remind the individual of the trauma. In PTSD, these symptoms should last at least one month (Health, N.D.). Individuals with persistent PTSD are unable to see the trauma as a time-bound event without any further negative implications. The existing threat perceived by the individual suffering from PTSD can be either external to them, for example, seeing the world or environment they are in as a more dangerous place or the threat may be internal. When the threat is perceived as internal the individual can come to believe that they are incapable of achieving anything, this kind of internal threat can cause a great deal of damage to ones self-esteem and ideologies (Ehlers & Clark, 1999).
There are several models for the treatment of individuals diagnosed with PTSD.
The specific target areas of helping individuals recover are; one to elaborate on the trauma memory and integrate said memory into the context of the individual’s life and experiences, subsequently reducing the intrusive re-experiencing of the trauma. Another aspect is to find the problematic perception of the trauma and the maintenance of a current threat and modify that perception. The last target area is to quail the cognitive strategies that prevent memory elaboration, for example, not thinking about the trauma will not make it go away (Ehlers & Clark, 1999).
There are many types of therapies used to treat PTSD, modern techniques such as Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy and Talk Therapy help...