One of the most common questions we receive at Pecan Creek Ranch is why do Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) sessions cost more than traditional talk-based therapy sessions. The bottom line answer is it costs more because clients get more.
Horses bring additional opportunities to sessions and to clients. Horses provide clients with emotional safety that some clients are initially unable to feel with humans. Horses also interact honestly with clients. They do not pretend to like clients, and they do not have agendas. Horses react to what clients are doing at the moment. Clients' past and their past behaviors are not what horses are responding to. Since horses are focused on the present moment, clients can see the impact of their current actions. Clients can then make changes in their behaviors, and immediately see the results of those changes in their relationships with their horses.
EAP is vastly different from talk therapy interventions. The therapy is provided by a team of professionals, a mental health professional, and an equine professional. As a result, clients have double the support, knowledge, and expertise at their disposal. In EAP sessions at Pecan Creek Ranch, clients are actively engaged in creating a new, real relationship with horses of their choice. During sessions, clients build relationships with their chosen horses, clients experience the same difficulties with their horse partners as they do with other humans and with themselves. Clients can explore these problems in the moment, and can try new solutions and/or strategies with the connected, attuned support of their therapy team.
In talk-based therapy, clients can avoid the problem and or talk around it for months no matter the setting, in an office, home, or in the field. In EAP sessions, clients' interactions with their horses reveal the problems and bring them front and center each session. In EAP sessions, clients obtain support and direction from their therapy team as they are struggling instead of only discussing strategies or solutions as they reflect on the issues they experienced in the past. Since the therapy team witnesses the clients' challenges, clients can identify their problems and work on these issues more quickly and more effectively.
In my twenty-five-year career, I have provided talk-based interventions in an office setting, home setting, and in the field. In my experience, none of those are as effective as EAP. EAP is my intervention of choice because it provides so many unique opportunities to clients. It allows clients to get to the heart of the problem very quickly, and to make changes in the moment. I can see how clients develop actual relationships in sessions with their chosen horses and observe the interactional patterns that are causing them problems. I can assist clients in real-time to change their behavior at the moment so they can obtain better results in their interactions. Clients are often able to resolve issues more quickly, and the changes they make usually stick. EAP has allowed me to help people develop new ways of being with themselves and others that change their lives. For me, EAP has worked when many other treatment models have failed.
EAP is a diverse, valuable type of therapy that allows clients unique opportunities to make lasting changes in their lives. Though the initial cost is higher, EAP sessions provide more opportunities for change than talk-based therapy. If clients take advantage of those opportunities, treatment length can be shorter. In a nutshell, EAP sessions cost more per session because clients receive more from the intervention.
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