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The use of equine-assisted psychotherapy with inpatients

27 July 2006


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) on adult inpatients at the Oregon State Hospital (OSH), Salem, Oregon. This study examined 52 surveys, completed by 21 interdisciplinary treatment team members, of 11 OSH inpatients. The 11 civil commitment inpatients participated in up to eight weeks of EAP sessions at The Adaptive Riding Institute in Scotts Mills, Oregon. The inpatients' treatment team members were asked to complete a survey regarding their perceptions ofthe impact of EAP on several factors: inpatients' use of prn (pro re nata, or "as needed") medication; frequency and nature of treatment group participation and social activity participation; frequency of use of voluntary movement restriction, seclusion, and/or restraint; discharge preparedness; and maintenance of privilege level. Overall, mean scores from treatment team survey responses corresponded with an anchor of at the same rate with respect to perception of frequency or duration for most items. Few treatment team respondents indicated a perception that EAP participants had changed for the worse, either; with an increase in problematic behaviors or a decrease in functional behaviors. After an average of four EAP sessions, there was a statistically significant correlation between an inpatients' attendance and the treatment team members' perception of the patients' use of restraints and maintenance of privilege level. However, this correlation was no longer significant when one patient's data were removed.


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