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

Shelley K. Green, Nova Southeastern University
Michael Rolleston, Nova Southeastern University
Monica Shroeder, Nova Southeastern University

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.


Expanding on the extensive use of equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) with at-risk adolescents (Burgon, 2011; Ewing, MacDonald, Taylor, & Bowers, 2007), clients struggling with addictions (Dell, Chalmers, Dell, Sauve, & MacKinnon, 2008) eating disorders (Sharpe, 2014) and trauma (Adams, Coady, & Yorke, 2008; Coleman, 2012; DePrekel, 2012), equine models have increasingly been utilized with couples, families, and groups to improve relationships, highlight strengths, normalize concerns, and enhance the overall therapeutic process (Green, 2013, 2014, 2017; Masini, 2010; Trotter, 2012). This chapter describes a relational, strength-based approach to EAP when working specifically with couples and families. As Lipchik (2002, p. 127) observes, “The importance of relational ties is a powerful resource for therapy.” Incorporating a strength-based, relational stance that honors client solutions offers unique opportunities for the enhancement of couple and family relationships through EAP.