CAHSS Faculty Books and Book Chapters

Triggering Transformations: An Equine Assisted Approach to the Treatment of Substance Abuse

Triggering Transformations: An Equine Assisted Approach to the Treatment of Substance Abuse

Book Title

Equine-Assisted Therapy Activities for Counselors: Harnessing Solutions to Common Problems

Document Type

Book Chapter



Publication Date



Kay Sudekum Trotter, Jennifer N. Baggerly


equine, mental health interventions, substance abuse


This chapter describes a relational, solution-focused approach to Equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) that incorporates attention to mindfulness, allowing clients struggling with substance abuse to work on their individual goals alongside other group participants. In the treatment of substance abuse, mindfulness practices may help clients avoid relapse by increasing their awareness of negative patterns of thoughts and emotions that could increase the likelihood of relapse triggers. Clinically, the combination of the equine-assisted experiential model and a solution-focused emphasis offers opportunities for heightened awareness and transformation. EAP approaches have been applied to many different clinical concerns, including substance abuse, eating disorders, domestic violence, trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, and physical or sexual abuse. The horses assist the therapists in shining light on the clients' abilities and strengths in relation to their problem. Clinical approaches that address the addiction without considering the clients' strengths, resources, and resilience miss critical opportunities to engage clients in a collaborative process that can anchor their decision to remain sober.






New York, NY

Additional Information

Written by internationally renowned equine-assisted mental health professionals, this edited collection teaches counselors how to design and implement equine-assisted mental health interventions for different populations and various challenges. Supported by ethical considerations and theoretical frameworks, chapters cover common issues including depression, anxiety, grief, ADHD, autism, eating disorders, substance abuse, self-esteem, social skills and communication, couples and family work, and professional development. Each chapter provides practical tips for implementing treatment strategies, case studies with transcript analyses, and sample session notes. This book will appeal to both the expert equine-assisted mental health counselor and the seasoned counselor who is open to partnering with an equine practitioner to help their clients in new and innovative ways.


Arts and Humanities


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