In recent developments Broadreach have started making connections with the Ivybridge Donkey Sanctuary, this will give clients the opportunity to work with the donkeys and in conjunction with the modalities Broadreach offers including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. The combination of counselling and other therapy techniques will encourage the clients to examine their lives and actions, and help them grow as individuals.
Behaviour is a common component among clients with addiction, frequently feeling aggressive or violent tendencies, whilst being able to communicate with the donkey's the clients will be able to explore how they react to certain tones of voice and movements and apply this to how they act in future human interactions. This is a good lesson on the importance of trust and respect in a relationship and an important part of the therapeutic process.
The holistic approach has been very beneficial to patients struggling with all types of addiction. The responsibility of caring for a horse helps gives addicts a sense of purpose to their daily routine. Having a sense of purpose makes it much easier to let go of the drugs or alcohol that once filled their life. This unique relationship also soothes the patient, and eases the typical withdrawal symptoms that typically accompany drug and alcohol rehab.
Key skills gained from Donkey Facilitated Learning include, Assertiveness, Emotional Awareness, Empathy, Stress tolerance, Flexibility, Impulse Control, Problem Solving Skills, Self-Actualisation, Independence, Self-Regard, Social Responsibility and Interpersonal Relationships.
Traditional addiction therapy involves medical detoxification, rehabilitation as well as group and individual therapy.
Although there are several aspects of addiction treatment, the goal remains the same helping a client rehabilitate so they can lead a substance free life. Donkey Assisted Learning although still experimental, has shown benefits for those who suffer with an addiction and various behavioural, anxiety and personality related disorders.
Horses and Donkeys prove to be great companions for psychotherapy because they are very receptive and are able to mirror and respond to human behaviour. Clients can often struggle to interact with their peers in treatment and may find some stages hard, being around the donkeys is good for companionship, lowered stress levels and decreases in blood pressure. Working with the donkeys allows clients to have fun, whilst developing their self-confidence without the fear of criticism or the pressure of a traditional therapy setting.
Just abit of background on the Donkey Sanctuary it was founded in 1969 by Dr Elisabeth Svendsen, over the years it has grown to become a national charity. Working with over 34 countries worldwide, allowing for over 18’000 donkeys and mules to be given a sanctuary for life, and over 6’000 donkeys and mules currently being cared for across farms, holding bases and their re-homing scheme.
For more information on the Sanctuary please click on the link below;
Visit the donkey sanctuary