Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Horses-Therapeutic use, Horsemanship-Therapeutic use, Horsemanship-Psychological aspects, Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, Equine, Equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP), EAGALA


This qualitative study set out to explore equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) under the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) model. As EAP is still a fairly new modality of therapy, the intention of this study is to add to the growing EAP literature. Interviews were conducted with fifteen EAGALA certified mental health practitioners (MH) and equine specialists (ES) with the intent to explore their professional insights, personal experiences and perspectives regarding EAP. EAP facilitators discussed the structure, benefits and challenges of the EAGALA model. These EAGALA model EAP facilitators also discussed the therapeutic modality of EAP -- revealing its own benefits and challenges. Study results supported existing literature in terms of the benefits that EAP can offer to diverse populations who are experiencing a range of psychological challenges. Insights revealed facilitators' observations about the power and effectiveness behind EAP. The experiential nature of working with horses as a therapeutic tool offers hope to situations where there may have been none. Findings also indicated EAGALA's credibility and valuable training and certification program for equine therapy. Implications of this investigation point to the need for further quantitative research, as equine therapy is still an emerging treatment modality offering considerable therapeutic benefits.




vi, 52 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, 2013. Includes bibliographical references (p. 43-48)