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How Animals Enhance Emotion Focused Therapy

Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT) has long been recognized as a powerful approach to helping individuals navigate their emotional landscapes and promote emotional healing. However, when combined with Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) featuring horses or dogs, the impact can be transformative. At Strides to Solutions, we have seen remarkable results when these two therapeutic modalities are synergized.

The Power of Emotion Focused Therapy:

Emotion Focused Therapy, commonly known as EFT, is a psychotherapy approach that focuses on helping individuals become more aware of their emotions, understand them, and learn how to effectively process and manage them. EFT emphasizes the importance of emotional regulation and fostering healthier emotional responses.

The Healing Bond with Animals:

Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) involves the use of animals as co-therapists to help individuals address emotional and psychological challenges. Horses and dogs are particularly effective in AAT due to their social and responsive behaviors, which mirror human emotions.

The Synergy of EFT and AAT:

1. Building Trust and Connection: EFT encourages individuals to build trust in their therapeutic relationship. Horses and dogs, being non-judgmental and compassionate, naturally foster trust and connection, making it easier for patients to open up emotionally.

2. Emotional Expression: EFT provides a safe space for clients to express their emotions, and animals provide a non-verbal outlet for emotional expression. The act of grooming a horse or playing with a dog can help individuals process and release emotions they may struggle to verbalize.

3. Developing Empathy: EFT aims to enhance an individual's emotional awareness and empathy. Interacting with animals teaches individuals to be more attuned to non-verbal cues and emotions, which can then be applied to human relationships.

4. Regulating Emotions: EFT equips individuals with tools to regulate and manage their emotions. The presence of animals, with their calming influence, can assist in emotional regulation, reducing anxiety and stress.

5. Promoting Self-Efficacy: EFT helps individuals build a sense of self-efficacy and empowerment. Participating in activities with animals, such as horse riding or dog training, reinforces these feelings of accomplishment and mastery.


Emotion Focused Therapy in combination with Animal Assisted Therapy involving horses or dogs creates a unique and highly effective therapeutic environment. This holistic approach not only aids in emotional healing but also strengthens personal growth, emotional regulation, and the development of crucial life skills. At Strides to Solutions, we are passionate about harnessing the synergy between EFT and AAT to help individuals and families achieve their emotional well-being goals. If you're seeking a transformative therapeutic experience, consider the powerful partnership of EFT and animal-assisted therapy.

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