Effects of an Equine-Assisted Therapy Program for Military Veterans with Self-Reported PTSD

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Abstract

This study evaluated the use of an 8-week Equine Assisted Activities and Therapy (EAAT) program for trauma-impacted veterans. There were 48 participants. EAAT programs have emerged as one alternative intervention for veterans who may have declined or dropped out of more traditional research-supported approaches. The EAAT program examined here incorporates CPT techniques in conjunction with guided interactions with horses. Program completers reported decreased PTSD symptoms and reduced signs of depression. Participants’ assessment of their quality of life improved significantly after the EAAT program. They also described a significantly increased ability to depend on others when needing help that was accompanied with a significant sense of relationship anxiety. The results provide evidence that EAAT may be effective for veterans with trauma-related mood, anxiety, and functioning difficulties. They also show that trauma-impacted veterans are more willing to initiate and continue to participate in EAAT programs in contrast to traditional trauma interventions.

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