Animals can prove to be great friends and companions. They are affectionate, sensitive and do not have high expectations and demands; all they need is some love and little care. Therefore, it comes as no big surprise that animals are being used in therapies to alleviate certain mental illnesses and disorders in human beings.
One therapy that has caught everyone’s attention is healing PTSD with the help of Horses. This treatment has been used extensively and successfully by a psychiatrist “Monty Roberts”, also the author of “The man who listens to horse”; for treating, war Veterans suffering from PTSD.
What is PTSD?
PTSD is an acronym for Post Traumatic Stress disorder. This is a condition where a person finds it very difficult to adjust with his life after he/she has experienced a life-altering trauma. Trauma may be defined to include an accident, witnessing a heinous crime or losing someone dear.
- This disorder has been found to be rampant amongst the war veterans whose mind just refuses to settle down in a normal civilian life.
- In words of Monty Roberts, the war veterans went to “risk their lives for the country as normal Men but returned psychologically torn”.
- Partly it is to be blamed on their training and partly on the bloody side of war that they witness.
- The effects are extremely traumatic leading to stress, depression and trust issues. If not treated properly, then in some extreme cases PTSD can result in violent results like domestic violence, suicide and even murder.
- In other cases, if not identified then it may lead to broken relationships and dysfunctional personality.
What is Horse Therapy?
This therapy is also known as Equestrian Therapy. Interaction with a horse whether for riding or just for company is a big distraction for the patients of PTSD. It transfers them to a plane of present and begins to lighten the burden of trauma.
Since, horses never expect anything; it becomes easier for the patients to deal with them instead of fellow human beings who tend to question and demand thereby creating stressful conditions. There is no doubt that the families of these war torn war veterans suffer a lot and it is only natural for them to expect the guy who went to war to return as it is.
Equines to the Rescue
Nevertheless, that does not happen in most of the cases. A physical injury can be detected and treated immediately but a mental disorder needs time and patience. This patience is what horses entrust on the human beings.
Besides, going to a horse ranch in an open environment is a more pleasing way of conducting therapies then a shrink’s cabin in a hospital. Especially for PTSD patients, hospitals can be bothersome because most of them are in a state of denial and fail to recognise their outbursts and anxiety as a disorder.
A Chance at Normalcy
With our brave soldiers going to disturbed areas on a duty call frequently, it is a responsibility to get them back safely, both physically and mentally. The equestrian therapy has assisted a number of war veterans and pulled them out of the PTSD. They have moved on to leading satisfactory family lives. This is one therapy that has found a lot of appreciation amongst the psychiatric circles for its effectiveness as well. If you believed that only a Dog was man’s best friend, it is time to try the Horse!
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