Date of Award
Doctoral Research Paper
Graduate School of Professional Psychology
Equine, Psychotherapy, EFP, Evidence-based practice in psychology, EBPP
Horses are being used in psychotherapy at increasing rates despite a lack of evidence establishing efficacy of the practice (Anestis, Anestis, Zawilinski, Hopkins, & Lilienfeld, 2013; Selby & Smith-Osborne, 2013). Without common and consistent practices based on a working theory of how Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) creates change, it is unknown how varied the practice is across the United States (Anestis et al., 2013). A lack of studies establishing efficacy leaves providers to determine effectiveness based on anecdotal evidence that may be at risk for bias (Lilienfeld, Ritschel, Lynn, Cautin, & Latzman, 2014). The American Psychological Association (APA) provides recommended best practices for clinical decision-making, which bases a large portion of efficacy for a treatment on randomized controlled trials (APA Taskforce on Evidence-Based Practice, 2006), currently non-existent within the EFP literature (Anestis et al., 2013). For the current study, EFP providers were surveyed to assess their knowledge and implementation of evidence-based practices in psychology within their EFP work. Providers were primarily White/Caucasian females from counseling or social work backgrounds with training in the EAGALA model as well as other psychological treatment backgrounds. Results indicated that EFP providers treat individuals with a variety of syndromes, with trauma, mood disorders, and anxiety disorders primarily reported. Our sample indicated adherence to basic EBPP by many of the providers, including having a broad base of experience from which to draw information, combining standardized protocols with interventions specifically chosen for individual client needs, assessing client progress with a combination of quantitative and qualitative measures, and utilizing diagnostic information to inform treatment planning.
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Turner, Mandi J., "Horses in Therapy: The Practice of Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy" (2018). Graduate School of Professional Psychology: Doctoral Papers and Masters Projects. 321.