Given the prevalence of substance abuse among American adolescents, the implementation of innovative treatment modalities is highly indicated. The practice of animal assisted therapy, specifically equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP), has been demonstrated to effect positive changes and personal growth within participants and is suggested within this work to be applicable to adolescents in residential substance abuse treatment facilities. Due to the benefits evidenced by the therapeutic modality of EAP, participation is hypothesized to promote and maintain abstinence among this population. Thus, this project focused on highlighting the empirical evidence associated with animal assisted therapy, particularly EAP, as well as reviewing the characteristics of adolescent substance abuse and current treatment approaches. The creation of an Intervention Guide which details discussion points as well as EAP activities was designed to target the unique treatment needs of adolescents in residential substance abuse treatment facilities. The Intervention Guide was reviewed by 2 EAP practitioners who rated the content, strengths, and weaknesses of the Guide. Their feedback was incorporated into a compilation of suggestions and future directions for the Intervention Guide.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (PsyD) -- Psychology; Teenagers -- substance use; Horsemanship -- Therapeutic use; Substance abuse --Treatment

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Harrell, Shelly;