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HEALING WITH HORSES

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RSA is actively seeking out providers to assist with treatment and research into mental health, environmental exposure, and post-service transition-related issues.

Healing with horses: RSA exploring all available treatment options for PTSI and other combat trauma

RSA is exploring the full range of modern treatments available for combat trauma – including going back to a warrior’s companion since the dawn of recorded history: the Horse. 

Danny Nelson, RSA Senior Strategic Advisor, recently participated in equine-facilitated psychotherapy (EFP), at a specialist training facility near Otaki.

In this mode of treatment, the horse becomes a therapeutic aid, with previous research suggesting EFP builds trust, affection, patience, assertiveness, self-esteem, interpersonal effectiveness and overall feelings of wellbeing – all essential human qualities undermined by the signature wound of modern conflict: Post Traumatic Stress Injury (PTSI).

“It may not be right for everyone – but we’re working on the toolbox approach. We’re exploring all options to give our people the best possible opportunities at recovery.”

The horse-based therapy works alongside other means of treatment, as part of a multi-faceted recovery plan.

“You can’t push the horse around, because it weighs half a ton; you have to communicate with your body and posture as much as your tone of voice. Horses are highly-social prey animals, with phenomenal in-the-moment awareness – so it won’t respond to you if you act in a threatening manner,” Danny says. 

RSA is actively seeking out providers to assist with treatment and research into mental health, environmental exposure, and post-service transition-related issues.

RSA encourages all service personnel with experience of local providers to contact the Support Services Team at National Office to provide feedback, and help us build the knowledge base about who is out there and what they offer.

“Pills and Talk therapy are just two of the many options available to assist our injured service personnel in recovery and the return to peak performance. While veteran groups are conducting significant, encouraging research overseas, we have to explore what works for our people, facing our challenges, within our culture.” 

  • Poppy Funds are collected New Zealand-wide to support current and former service personnel, and their families – if you or someone close to you needs help, contact with your local support advisor.


Check out the videos below: 

RSA’s Danny Nelson, working with Thunder the horse: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6-LMwJJUlI

Discussion of the Vulnerability path training: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOOyvM-voG4

 


 

 

 


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