Horses Helping Teens With Addiction - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

Horses Helping Teens With Addiction

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What can a horse do to help an addict overcome the demons of addiction? A lot.

At the Newport Academy, a residential treatment facility based in Orange, young teens experience a unique feature in equine therapy.

Usually, horse therapy has a lot to do with learning RESPONSIBILITY by working  with and caring for such a large animal. But horses have a unique sense, as pray animals. They know what the person (or animal nearby) is feeling, or "giving out", as it where, and they will react to it. That is a main tool in the Newport treatment arsenal.

In the case of "Parker" a 20-year-old graduate of the program, "Levi" the Tennessee Walker horse he was working with, would walk away if Parker was upset - even if he was pretending not to be. The horse would be aloof, and the equine and drug therapists watching nearby would explain to Parker the horse was reacting to something on him.

"I didn't recognize it, he did"

Sophia, another recent graduate of the Newport program, talks about the horse nudging her endlessly, in the spots where she would cut herself as part of her self abuse ritual. "I could cover the scars, but he knew better, " she says, " and would keep on nudging me and putting his nose to the spots as if saying 'why'?"

Sometimes, the horse can bring out recognition of behavior a lot faster than trying to talk about it. With the help of therapists, who are watching, the patients can recognize it, and take the experience back to their doctors.

SOPHIA has been clean for fourteen months. Parker for two years. There are others. Newport works with young teens in Southern California and Connecticut. They do keep boys and girls separate, so they can concentrate on their treatment. Horses are an important part of the therapy, which includes other tools.

Like Parker says, once you accept the possibility that this huge animal can read you better than you can read yourself, and accept you as you are regardless, anything is possible. "You just have to open yourself up to the possibility".

For more information:
Newport Academy
811 N Ranch Wood Trail, Orange, CA, 92869 ask for Chelsea Reeves
714 288 0123

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