“[EAP offers] the opportunity to form positive bonds and attachments. Attachment to a love object is at the root of successful development… [but] adjudicated youth often refuse to believe such a thing is possible. They avoid attachments at all costs. But the horse is non-judgmental. It will respond to care and attention with patience and cooperation. Attachment is not only possible in this non-threatening relationship, but it is almost inevitable. Translating this process to human relationships, while difficult, becomes less impossible. Positive relationships finally begin to make sense.”
Young people caught up in the justice system don’t easily fit into any health- or social-care scenario, yet they need therapeutic interventions of some sort if they’re to turn their lives around. Of course, this is also in the best interests of the wider society.
Youth offenders & EAP
Youth offenders make ideal clients for equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP). They often welcome the idea of meeting animals, and the largely non-verbal nature of EAP means that they aren’t being pressured to come up with articulate explanations of their past behaviour or their current feelings.
EAP helps to improve young offenders’ self-reflection and self-awareness, and to develop greater self-esteem. Since horses are non-judgmental and non-verbal, contact with them makes young people feel respected and valued. Observing the horses’ reactions to their own moods and behaviours enables young people to see a connection between their attitudes and conduct and the reactions of other people. Discover how EAP works.
Find out more
If you work in youth justice or are a commissioner for related services, please get in touch.