Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is a legitimate mechanism through which we can provide our clients with the support they need. Those of us in practice in the field know the power of EAP. However, for EAP to gain legitimacy as a treatment modality, we need to show its efficacy to the stake holders in the academic and therapeutic community who can make EAP more accessible and reimbursable. When we approach grant makers and health insurance companies we need to be able to show them – in their language of statistics, outcome measures and dollar amounts – that Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is helping our clients and in what situations. The days of going on “gut instincts” to guide our practice are long-gone. In an age where managed care sets the bottom line of what an insurance company will reimburse to Mental Health Practitioners, research and evaluation of services are a must if an agency is to maintain its revenue and keep its doors open.
How do we know whether we are impacting our clients in ways that are meaningful to them? How do we know if we are hitting the mark in effectively assessing and developing a treatment plan with our clients? Is our client attaining his/her goal of treatment? How do we know if EAP is as or more cost-effective than other treatment methods?
How do we know this? Through research and evaluation!
Here at Flying Change, we are constantly evaluating ways to improve the services and supports we provide to our clients through Single-System Design research, anonymous Evaluation forms, and tracking specific outcomes to determine what therapeutic issues and diagnoses are most suited to Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. At Flying Change, evaluation and research are seen as part of our responsibility to our clients and our responsibility to furthering the professional development of our field.
While in the past, the majority of research performed in EAP has been anecdotal or qualitative, we believe that Equine Assisted Psychotherapy can only truly achieve the credit it deserves through quantitative research. As such, we are happy to be part of a forming community of programs which are combining our efforts to pursue quantitative data on EAP. For more information, contact our Program Director, Jennifer Huffaker at Jennifer@flyingchange.org