Leaving prison is a stressful time. The individual is faced with trying to reconstruct their life: avoiding destructive acquaintances; breaking negative behaviour patterns; dealing with the effects of prison life (which can, in some instances, be traumatic); finding stability; and adjusting to the sudden culture shock of the outside world.
The effects of prison life
The effects of prison can include anxiety, depression, disrupted sleep, loss of confidence and a breakdown in relationships. Communication can be difficult, as can impulse control. There can be feelings of shame, isolation, loss and lack of control.
Using EAP with ex-offenders
Equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) can help ex-offenders and probationers to address all of these issues and more. It is a gentle, safe and effective way to help individuals recognise and deal with their feelings, which they may otherwise find difficult to articulate.
Working (often for the first time in their lives) with such a large and powerful creature comes as a culture shock for many ex-prisoners. Unable to use their usual control strategies of anger, physical strength and intimidation, these clients have to fall back on their inner resources.
Realising that any interaction or relationship with the horse is only achievable through co-operation and partnership, client must draw their own conclusions about the behavioural and emotional strategies that resulted in their imprisonment in the first place. It also helps them to recognise that the real answers must come from within, thus helping them to own both their issues and their contribution to their own rehabilitation.
Our EAP programme
Our EAP programme can be used with both individuals and groups, on its own or alongside other therapies. It is offered in blocks of 6 to 8 one-hour sessions (although usually only one block is required), making it a short-term intervention which delivers real value for commissioners. Discover how EAP works.
Find out more
If you work in the prison or probation system or are a commissioner for related services, please get in touch.