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Whispering to horses: childhood sexual abuse, depression and the efficacy of equine facilitated therapy


Author(s)Signal, Tania, Nik Taylor, Helena Botros, Kathryn Prentice and Kathryn Lazarus
Title Whispering to horses: Childhood sexual abuse, depression and the efficacy of equine facilitated therapy
Source Sexual Abuse in Australia and New Zealand,May 2013, No 5(1), pp 24-32
Date 2013
Coverage Australia
Document type Journal article
Summary This study assesses the efficacy of Equine Facilitated Therapy (EFT) as an adjunct therapy for survivors of child sexual abuse with depressive symptoms. Equine Facilitated Therapy includes activities such as grooming, handling and riding horses. Participants in the study were 15 children, 15 adolescents and 14 adult women who were referred to Phoenix House for treatment for sexual abuse. Assessments were made at three points, two prior to commencing EFT, and participants attended the EFT group program once per week for 9-10 weeks. The study showed that EFT resulted in significant and marked decrements in Children's Depressive Inventory (CDI) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) scores. Child participants showed the greatest average effect size following EFT suggesting that this therapy may be particularly effective in reaching younger children
Keywords Equine facilitated therapy; EFT; child sexual abuse; depression
Topic Psychological effects and treatment; Sexual assault