Finding suitable treatment options for your troubled teen is crucial to ensuring he has the best opportunities to recover. At Help Your Teen Now, your teen will have access to several therapy types that can offer him the help that he can best benefit from.
Knowing which type of therapy can best benefit your teen can only come from a complete evaluation that focuses on the individual concerns that he is facing. One therapy type that offers great benefits for many struggling teens is equine therapy.
How much do you know about equine therapy?
How much do you know about how it compares to other therapeutic options?
Determining the needs of your teen
While it’s true that you know your teen better than most, when it comes to the diagnosis and treatment of mental health and behavioral concerns, a professional opinion is the better direction to go.
The recovery and healing needs of teens can vary so greatly. It’s important to get them into the right type of treatment. For example, a teen struggling to recover from drug or alcohol abuse may need a different treatment focus than a teen who has been bullied and struggles with anxiety and depression.
There may be some overlap in treatment options, but the more focused his treatment can be on his individual recovery needs, the better his chances for successful treatment outcomes.
Questions mental health professionals may address include:
- What are the key concerns facing your teen today?
- Is he struggling with his mental health?
- Are there concerns with drug or alcohol abuse and addiction?
- Has he been bullied at school or abused in another environment?
- Does he display any aggressive or violent tendencies?
- Has he faced legal trouble as a result of his behavioral issues?
There are, of course, other concerns that a mental healthcare professional will cover, with the focus on finding the best treatment options for your teen.
Psychotherapy options for troubled teens
Treatment options could be offered as outpatient or inpatient treatment, where your teen may live at the facility providing the intensive beneficial treatment they need.
There are several approaches to and types of psychotherapy, including:
- Dance therapy. This focuses on using movement as a means of therapy to help manage moods, stress, self-esteem and help to promote a positive body image.
- Art therapy. This can take on many creative forms, including drawing and painting. The goal is to help your teen express emotions and work through the issues he’s facing. This type of therapy is effective for both children and teens. It can help with stress, anxiety, addictions, and depression.
- Equine assistant therapy. This type of therapy focuses your teen on caring for and doing activities with well-trained horses. As a part of the treatment plan, horses can help create an emotional bond for teens who have struggled with self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and being the victim of bullying and abuse.
Other types of more traditional psychotherapy, like cognitive or dialectical behavior therapy, can also be effective in some situations.
Psychotherapy can prove highly effective for many children, teens, and adults. There are some cases where it is not the better option for the patient. Programs that take a harsher approach can result in a teen who struggles to recover. This may include some boot camps and wilderness camps.
These programs can certainly be operated safely, but that was not always the case. The physical well-being of the teen in treatment was not always made a priority. There may have been less focus on individualized treatment plans, so teens were not getting the right type of therapy they needed to recover. This could set them up for relapsing or overdosing once they leave the facility.
The right therapeutic approach will take into account the needs of the individual and will also ensure that each teen is kept safe while focusing on recovery.
Equine-assisted therapy is an excellent option for a troubled teen who needs to focus on recovery and healing in an environment that takes him out of his home environment. This type of psychotherapy happens in a ranch setting, which is often a strange and new environment for the teen. Most come from an urban or suburban area, which doesn’t typically give them much exposure to horses and ranch life.
For many troubled teens, a fresh start can often begin with a brand new environment. It’s often easier to start the recovery process in an entirely different environment from the one in which you found yourself struggling. This therapeutic environment will also mean that the struggling teen won’t rely on his old defenses against therapy.
The horse that your teen pairs with will play a major role in the therapeutic process. Most often, the teen can select the horse who will be their therapeutic partner once they enter the program.
A true partnership will form, where the teen will learn how to take care of each horse’s needs. This could include grooming, feeding, walking, and hoof care.
Additional training options will arise for the teen once their relationship with the horse grows. The focus is for the teen to bond with the horse selected. A part of this bonding process will include patience, empathy, and learning the importance of hard work.
Just what makes a horse such a great therapy animal for a struggling teen?
These beautiful animals are emotional and sensitive to the emotions of their handler. They can certainly be difficult and stubborn and may need the patience to find the best ways to work and train with them. These same characteristics can be beneficial for a teen learning how to be patient and to consider the needs of others.
For example, if a teen enters into a program with defiance concerns and anger management, the horse will likely pick up on his emotions. The horse will sense the anger and moodiness but won’t understand that it’s not being directed to it. The teen needs to understand the importance of patience and taking control of his anger issues if he wants the horse to respond to him. A horse sensing negative energy and anger may be fidgety and skittish. It definitely won’t stand still for grooming.
Seeing how his behaviors and moods impact the horse can help a struggling teen realize just how he has impacted everyone else in his life.
One of the best parts of equine therapy is that it can offer the potential for less resistance than what is often seen with other types of therapy. Many teens will roll their eyes and protest if they need to spend hours in therapy sessions. Spending time with a horse and the calming energy that a horse can bring with it may be more appealing to a teen. In addition, horses can be wonderful listeners. A troubled teen may find it easier to work through challenging emotions with a therapeutic horse than a person they worry may judge them.
At Help Your Teen Now, we focus on pairing troubled teens with therapeutic solutions to meet their individual needs. Understanding their needs starts with an evaluation to learn more about the struggles that they are facing.