An Arena for Success: Exploring Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (Clinical Report)

Therapeutic interventions have been a priority within the court systems to remediate the behavior of youths that have been adjudicated (Clark, 2001). Treatment interventions, involving traditional “talk” therapy in individual and family counseling are currently the primary remediation methods. Although these continue to be utilized, the recidivism rate of delinquents remains an area in need of further explorations for resolution (Sharkey, Furlong, Jimeson, & O’Brien, 2003). Youth who are diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) are one such group that requires effective therapeutic intervention. The characteristics presented by an ODD adolescent are numerous and often include hostility, noncompliance, and aggressiveness; and they tend to be resistant to treatment (Hanna, Hanna, & Keys, 1999). This pattern of defiance creates obstacles for change. Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) may provide an arena of effective strategies for adjudicated youth.

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