A Systematic Review Of The Effects Of Psychotherapy Involving Equines




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Social Work


This systematic review examines the empirical literature in an emerging body of evidence for the effectiveness of psychosocial interventions involving equines across populations. Fourteen full reports in English were extracted from 103 studies accessed through sixteen electronic databases and a hand search. Selected quantitative studies were published in peer-reviewed journals; the gray literature and white papers were also explored. Population, Intervention, Comparison, and Outcome (PICO) and Grades of Recommendation, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) criteria were applied to all studies. Data were synthesized in relation to four research questions informing evidence-based practice. No randomized clinical trials were located. Two studies provided a moderate level of evidence for effectiveness. Nine studies demonstrated statistically significant positive effects. In the aggregate, the evidence is promising in support of the effectiveness of psychotherapy employing equines. Future studies are needed that utilize rigorous and creative designs, especially longitudinal studies and comparisons with established effective treatments.