Equine Assisted Mental Health (EAMH) is a holistic, experiential and highly specialized form of therapy that involves working in collaboration with a horse, a therapist, and an equine specialist. This groundbreaking model is being used globally as a dynamic, powerful tool in mental health therapy.
Including horses in mental health counseling, psychotherapy, or social work is emerging as an effective experiential treatment technique. Clients get “outside of four walls” and experience the connection between themselves, horses, and the natural world.
Horses Are Uniquely Suited to This Kind of Therapy, because they are intuitive and will physically react to behavior patterns and cues that people often miss. This creates a place for the therapist and client to connect on a deeper level and address issues that might otherwise go unnoticed in a traditional office setting.
The horse's sensitivity to subtle changes in their environment make them perfect partners for those seeking to improve their mental health. Due to their sensitivity, horses react and respond to people differently based upon the person's emotional state, providing the client and the mental health professional with information regarding the client's moods and changes within those moods. If a client arrives anxious the horse will act and respond one way. If the client is able to reduce his or her anxiety, the horse's behaviors will also change. This provides a plethora of information and skill building opportunities for both the client and the mental health professional.
EAMH SUD Treatment Groupwork at Healing Reins:
This is an Equine Assisted Mental Health (EAMH) group that meets 2 hours each week for 8 weeks. Each group is designed to support up to 6 participants in experiencing equine assisted activities. The equine assisted activities are geared at targeting mental health goals and objectives suitable for those individuals that experience Substance Use Disorder.
- Group Participants gain insights and awareness of their personal experiences, patterns, and choices
- Build skills in relationship, mindfulness, and confidence
- Learn horse body language and horse handling techniques
- Explore how to apply the learned skill sets in everyday life
- Creates a safe space Outside the 4-walls of a traditional clinical therapy setting for the group and therapist to interact with one another by engaging in activity with a horse during their therapy session.
- The therapist partners with the horse to help the group process their emotions, thoughts and reactions.
More on This Process:
Each participant interested in the group will schedule an initial intake session with our Clinical Manager Lisa Bradley, LPC. This session is an individual session and is designed to provide the potential participant with information on equine assisted mental health, to create initial treatment goals, and to receive information on how to prepare for the session and environment, such as wearing closed toed shoes and bringing personal gear to protect from weather variations.
After the individual intake session, each participant will be given their group start date. It is up to each participant to arrange transportation and to notify Lisa if unable to attend or any needs for cancellation.
During the Group Sessions: Each group session will begin with a brief check in which will lead into a designed equine assisted activity that will take the majority of the group time, and then end with a brief check out.
Upon the Completion of the 8 Week Group: Each participant will schedule an individual closing session with Lisa. This closing session is designed to support the participant in reflecting on goals reached and skills gained, as well as explore next steps and referral options if necessary. This closing session should be scheduled within 2 weeks of the group ending.
Each participant is also offered one individual Equine Assisted Mental Health session with Lisa to be completed during the duration of the group. This is optional, would be scheduled with Lisa individually, and is up to the participant to request.
How We Make and Receive Referrals:
If you are referring an individual to this group, you may also request that Lisa contact the potential client. If so, please supply Lisa with the potential group participant’s email and phone number. Lisa will contact the individual by phone and email as soon as possible within a few business days.
*** It is important to note that Healing Reins is an out-patient mental health clinic only and does NOT offer crisis intervention or on-call services. If anyone is experiencing a crisis, please call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room for immediate care. ***
In the event that a client needs additional support in areas that Healing Reins can not or does not offer, or a client is found not to be appropriate for the group, referrals will be provided. Adequate support in this process for the purposes and assurance of continuity of care will also be given. This includes any necessary communication across organizations while making sure the appropriate documents, such as a Release of Information form, will be in place when necessary.