Equine Partnered Play Therapy
Equine Partnered Play Therapy (EPPT) integrates miniature horses or small ponies with Child Centered Play Therapy (CCPT).
In CCPT, we create a safe and permissive environment for children to express themselves freely through their play. Rather than directing the child’s play, we allow them to direct their own play.
When needed, appropriate limits are set and enforced, which helps children to learn to regulate and manage their own feelings and behaviors.
How Does Play Therapy Work With Horses?
Equine Partnered Play Therapy (EPPT) integrates miniature horses or small ponies with CCPT. The safe and permissive environment utilized in CCPT now includes a miniature equine.
Children still direct their own play and that play is extended to include the child’s interaction with the miniature equine.
When needed, limits are set to ensure the safety of the child and the equine as well as to help children learn to regulate and manage their own feelings and behaviors.
What Does a Typical Session Look Like?
Prior to the first session with the child, the therapist will talk with the parent about the parents’ concerns and determine whether or not EPPT is an appropriate fit. If so, the next session will be a 45 minute play session where the child will freely interact with a miniature horse, the play therapist and a Path International Certified Equine Specialist, who is trained to look out for the safety of all involved.
This time is a private time for the child, so parents will wait in a designated area to ensure that the child has privacy.
Who Can EPPT Help?
EPPT can help children with a variety of struggles, including but not limited to ADHD, depression, anxiety and trauma. EPPT is appropriate for children with developmental ages between 4 and 11.
The general rule is that if children are still participating in pretend or imaginative play, they can likely benefit from EPPT.
Those who are currently enrolled in therapeutic riding or are thinking of enrolling may not be suited to participate in this therapy due to the different nature of the horse interaction.
Amanda Superville is happy to join the Horse and Buddy team to work alongside the Equine Specialists providing Equine Partnered Play Therapy to children and families. Amanda has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 2005 and has worked with children experiencing depression, anxiety, ADHD and trauma. While she took some time away from work to homeschool her children, Amanda is excited to return to offer this unique therapeutic experience to children and their families. In her spare time, Amanda enjoys reading, hiking, being in nature, spending time with her family and caring for her full sized horse Freckles and half sized horse Jet.
If you are interested in Equine Partnered Play Therapy or would like more information please contact EFP@horseandbuddy.org.