Trauma Focused Therapy Services
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy is a method of psychotherapy that is proven to help people recover from trauma and other distressing life experiences, including PTSD, anxiety, depression, and panic disorders. EMDR has been extensively researched and is considered a "best practice" for mental health work.
Our brains have a natural way to recover from traumatic memories and events. This process involves communication between the amygdala (the alarm signal for stressful events), the hippocampus (which assists with learning, including memories about safety and danger), and the prefrontal cortex (which analyzes and controls behavior and emotion). Most of the time, traumatic experiences can be managed and resolved spontaneously, sometimes they can get "stuck" and need some help to process.
Stress responses are part of our natural fight, flight, or freeze instincts. When distress from a disturbing event remains, the upsetting images, thoughts, and emotions may create an overwhelming feeling of being back in that moment, or of being “frozen in time.” EMDR therapy helps the brain process these memories, and allows normal healing to resume. The experience is still remembered, but the fight, flight, or freeze response from the original event is resolved. (adapted from www.emdria.org)
Equine Connected EMDR
Equine-Assisted EMDR is effective in helping clients who suffer from complex and single incident trauma, PTSD, and a wide range of other mental health challenges. This modality incorporates the 8 phases of EMDR while interacting with the horses. The dual attention of the horses provides the opportunity for the client to start to feel safe and grounded. The understanding of dissociation and the defensive actions that the human central nervous system plays to keep it safe is seen and understood by the horses. This attunement and understanding from the horse provide for the client new adaptive information or experiential “aha moments” that the clients can apply to other areas of their lives.
Equine Connected Therapy
Equine Connected Therapy has been successfully integrated into treatment for adults and teens who have struggled with challenging behaviors, eating disorders, grief and loss, trauma, anxiety, depression, and related conditions. It is an alternative to traditional therapy and great for those who have been “stuck” or who may feel disconnected. Horses are sensitive animals being acutely aware of human emotions and intent. Emotions can surface much quicker in a session with horses than in an office setting.
A powerful experience with horses can break down barriers and overcome stigmas associated with therapy.
Equine Connected Therapy creates a safe space to experience and observe our own tendencies, patterns, and to understand more about ourselves. Throughout the therapeutic process, horses work as co-facilitators with the guidance and supervision of a trained equine therapist to help you experience in-the-moment self-realizations. Intuitive, non-judgmental, and with no preconceived expectations or motives, horses are highly effective at mirroring the attitudes and behaviors of the humans with whom they are working.
Sometimes, we may tend to engage in self-defeating and otherwise negative thoughts and actions, or perhaps we are finding difficulty in truly grasping the root of our struggles. Equine therapy offers a powerful and unique approach to engaging in deep self-reflection, helping us learn more about how we show up and respond in our own lives, and a glimpse of what might be holding us back from authentic living. These realizations provide excellent groundwork for discussion, developing meaningful insight, and processing both during and after the equine therapy experience.