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Equine Assisted Psychotherapy for the Treatment of PTSD in U.S. Service Members

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The following is a review of the literature on Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) as a potential treatment for US service members with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD). EAP is a relatively

The following is a review of the literature on Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) as a potential treatment for US service members with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder(PTSD). EAP is a relatively new and undeclared psychotherapeutic technique that presents limitless opportunities for holistic growth in patients who have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) who have not achieved an improvement in their quality of life as a result of other conventional treatments. Due to its heterogenous nature, PTSD directly dismantles the brain’s reward circuitry pathway, altering the individual’s capacity for emotional resolution. For US veterans suffering from PTSD who have not received palpable improvements through traditional talk therapies, EAP is a treatment for emotional vulnerability and communal reintegration when used in conjunction with techniques of attachment theory and cognitive-behavioral theory. Previous studies show an uptick in interpersonal trust and an alleviation of maladaptive defensive mechanisms set in place by the individual to protect the psyche. Research is indicative of an alleviation in overall symptomatology with an emphasis in the rehearsal of therapeutic strategies within interpersonal relationships to rehabilitate social engagement and cognition. Due to the lack of foundational acceptance of EAP thus far as a treatment for PTSD, it is challenging to ascertain a marginalized understanding of the holistic effects of EAP on PTSD as a stand alone psychotherapeutic treatment.

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  • 2021-05