EASITT ~ Equine Assisted Survivors of Interpersonal Trauma Therapy Group

E A S I T T Group

 EASITTSexual abuse, domestic violence, rape, military sexual assault, and human trafficking are terms we each hear almost daily in the media. The 2014 National Crimes Victims Survey reports that an American is sexually assaulted every 109 seconds. Statistics show that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men will experience some form of unwanted sexual violence in their lifetime.1

Sexual trauma exacts significant social and economic costs in our country and across the world 2. Negative impacts on earnings, job performance, family dynamics, and increased over lifetime health expenses impact survivors of sexual trauma, their families, and their communities. Sexual trauma can deeply affect the emotional, cognitive, and spiritual well-being of the survivor.

Advancing studies of the neurobiology of trauma show that experiential therapeutic approaches such as equine facilitated learning and psychotherapy have positive outcomes and can reduce PTSD-like symptoms, depression, and associated somatic issues, thus increase the well-being while decreasing negative impacts on survivors3. Equine facilitated learning and psychotherapy programs designed specifically to address this need are an opportunity to offer high quality, trauma-informed experiential programming that can improve quality of life and address the impact of sexual abuse in our communities.

EASTT is a unique program that began in 2017 in Kalispell, Montana through a collaboration between The Violence Free Crisis Line and Abbie shelter, Soroptimist of Whitefish, and The Learning Center at Red Willow and Medicine Horse


1 https://www.rainn.org/statistics/victims-sexual-violence
2 http://endsexualviolence.org/where-we-stand/costs-consequences-and-solutions
3 Handbook of Experiential Psychotherapy 1998; Guilford Press, New York: NY p. 328
4 http://www.joyfulheartfoundation.org/learn/sexual-assault-rape/effects-sexual-assault-and-rape

EASITT combines psychoeducation and equine assisted activities to address symptoms of PTSD,anxiety, depression, and relationship issues common for survivors of sexual trauma4. This a non-mounted group; participants do not need any prior horse experience. The environment and the horse partnership framework allow participants to practice and learn new life skills while promoting self-awareness and relationship building. The goal is to create a safe, nonjudgmental, non-critical environment with in-the-moment experience that improves participants’ coping and relationship skills, and enhances overall quality of life .

This group is specifically designed to address and normalize symptomology, provide psychoeducational information, real-time opportunities to put new skills in practice with the equine partner, and provide a safe social experience for survivors of sexual trauma and interpersonal violence.

The EASITT model for both groups and individual therapy are:

  • Trauma-informed and intended to specifically address issues common to Survivors of sexual trauma and domestic violence
  • Based on a one client /one horse relationship model
  • Non-mounted, with focus on relational awareness without direct horsemanship skill building
  • Focused on empowerment, relationship skills, communication, and self-care

Created by a highly skilled Equine Assisted Mental Health professional with a thorough understanding of the field of equine-assisted mental health; clinical and theoretical foundations, trauma informed care, integrated psychoeducation approaches and abides by ethical standards of MH Professional licensing board standards of care