Horse of Hope Equine Assisted Therapies
Horses of Hope Equine Assisted Therapies is a Christ centered program, offering both Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) and Equine Experiential Learning(EEL). These therapies offer opportunities for healing, behavioral changes, and improved family dynamics.
To assist children, teens and families in crisis by allowing Christ to work through the horses to bring healing to behavioral , parenting, and communication issues through a method of therapy called Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) and Equine Experiential Learning (EEL). Equine Assisted Therapies (EAT) is the term that covers the different therapeutic approaches.
Goals of Therapy include:
- To evaluate and assess the client and family, ruling out any physical and/ or mental diagnoses not appropriate for EAT.
- To work with the client and family's Primary Care Provider (PCP) as needed.
- To develop a therapeutic plan, considering immediate issues and problems, including the client and family in the development of plan of care.
- To work with children, teens, and adults who have behavioral issues and /or mental diagnoses, allowing the horse to both assist in identifying the issues, as well as challenge the client in developing alternative and appropriate changes in behaviors.
- To develop plans of corrective action(s) through specific activities that will assist in changing dysfunctional patterns of behavior through their work with the horse.
The term Equine Assisted Therapies (EAT) refers to several specific therapeutic approaches that include horses in providing the therapy.
Hippotherapy is a form of therapy in which Occupational and/or Physical Therapist utilize rhythmical movement of the horse to provide activities that improve flexibility, muscle strength, and joint movement.
Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) is a form of psychotherapy influenced by Gestalt and Experiential Theories, focusing on the here and now, and include the horse as co-therapist in all activities. These activities start with grooming the horse (of choice). This allows for the development of a relationship between the client and the horse. The horse mirrors the feelings of the client to the therapist ( and client), that are often difficult for the client to put into words. The other benefit of grooming is the affect the horses energy field has on the chemical on the human brain.The horse's energy field is huge and most will admit that after spending 20 minutes grooming the horse, they are more centered and calm.
Other activities such as leading and backing up, ground manners, and lungeing the horse in the round pen allow for opportunities for the client to learn about the importance of boundaries and respect, staying focused and balanced and the importance of completing an activity that one started. The 4 rules of training a horses are the same as training a child (parenting): 1. Mutual Respect, 2. Reasonable Expectations, 3. Consistency, and 4. Pressure and Release. We teach these concepts to both the client and parents. This therapeutic approach is very effective in working with children and adolescents with behavioral issues, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Autistic Spectrum Disorder as well as diagnoses of depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Eating Disorders, and Chemical Dependency.
Equine Experiential Learning (EEL) are experiential activities that allow participants (clients, families), to learn principles such as the value of self-control, discipline, and the respect for others boundaries. EAL activities are quite effective in family therapy, couples therapy, and team building activities. Enhanced self -awareness, changing of mal-adaptive behaviors, improved communication skills and effective expressions of feelings are also some of the benefits from EAL.
Equine Assisted Therapy(s) that include EFP and EEL can happen on the ground, on the horse, in the pasture, at the barn, or in the round pen. The emphasis is not teaching horse-back riding, but rather on the development of a special relationship between a horse and the client that offers unconditional acceptance and empowerment. Goal-specific activities are used that assist in the healing process.
Services Offered include:
- Psychosocial assessment and screening
- Parenting skills and behavior management
- Therapy for clients with Autistic Spectrum Disorders
- Therapy for issues with phobias, eating disorders, sleep problems, stress related issues, Separation Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress related issues (PTSD), Trauma Recovery (abuse), and Grief Resolution
- Therapy for ADD and ADHD; Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and other behavioral issues; Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Suicide; Drug and Alcohol Abuse and Self-Injurious behaviors such as cutting
- Therapy for Dealing with fatal illnesses such as Cancer
- Therapy for Behavioral problems related to parental and family stress, divorce, death, chemical dependency, and fatal illnesses.