Discover the Therapeutic Value of the Horse
Learn about yourself and others by participating in activities with horses and addressing your treatment goals. At Ray of Hope Counseling Services, we incorporate equine assisted psychotherapy for emotional growth and learning. A licensed therapist and a horse professional will be with you through the entire session.
Benefits of EAP
There are great advantages of utilizing horses in the therapy process as they are dynamic and powerful living beings.
While horses can be naturally intimidating to many (since they are large and powerful), this perception creates an opportunity for some to overcome fears and develop confidence. The experience can provide wonderful insights when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life.
Equine Facilitated counseling (EFC) is the incorporation of horses (i.e., equines) into the counseling process to facilitate therapeutic outcomes and wellness goals.
When using EFC, the therapeutic activities and interactions with horses are accomplished from the ground and there is no riding involved. It is an experiential adjunct to the traditional counseling setting and is facilitated by a qualified professional with horse experience. The team combines their formal education, science, and research to provide a therapeutic basis for adding horses and nature to their therapeutic work.
Research continues to demonstrate general health and psychological benefits from human connections with animals. Studies show that simple contact with an animal can lower blood pressure and respiratory rates and provide a sense of wellbeing and calmness. We are also learning that collaborating with animals on the ground reaches far beyond these wellness benefits.
Because horses are prey animals, they are acutely adept and swift to process information via their sensory organs. They are continuously scanning their environment seeking serenity, calmness, safety, and survival. Horses are also innately herd-oriented with a high need for socialization with other horses.
Their uncanny ability to process environmental stimuli in the here-and-now equips them to provide honest and immediate feedback about how they perceive our presence and actions. They serve as our mirror about how we present ourselves to them and the general world.
Domestic horses, like those used in our EFC program, are deeply socialized with humans; however, their willingness to interact with us is not innate. With every interaction, we must still earn the privilege to be in that authentic space and to experience their serenity, calmness, and safety. If we violate that privilege, they will let us know immediately. They are masters at non-verbal communication! Through an experiential process, or _dance_ as we call it, horses guide us to behave in a manner that allows us to be present in their world of serenity, calmness, and honesty. They guide us to a more authentic way of being and behaving.
Our therapeutic team helps clients process their thoughts and feelings about the equine experience to gain insight about how these thoughts and feelings have shaped current maladaptive behaviors in their everyday lives. With the help of horses, clients learn how to rethink their experiences and engage in a healthier dance with the horse, thus freeing them of the maladaptive thinking that led to the unproductive behavior. Clients learn how this new dance can transfer these insights allowing for a healthier, happier way of being in their daily lives.
Our integration of traditional therapy and EFC, we provide a safe, collaborative and supportive place to work through what has brought our clients to counseling. For some, talking is preferred in a private
counseling setting. Others prefer working with our horses and being outside. Either way, our qualified counseling team incorporates a variety of approaches to create an experience unique for each individual and adhere to the ACA Animal-Assisted Therapy Counseling Competencies.
Each Horse and Donkey has a unique personality. One trait they all have in common, though, is their gentle and kind demeanor.
Leotie is a young Mustang mare who was once wild living in the vastness of the Salt Wells, Wyoming open range until she was nearly 5 years old.
In 2016 she was adopted by her human and has underwent significant training to gentle and transition her to a life of domestication. As a once wild prey animal, her heightened sensory abilities enabling her to read and respond to human interactions are unsurpassed. She is very gentle and kind, and energetic.
Joey is an elderly and wise Spotted Saddle horse whose lived a long active life. He is a gentle and caring soul and keeps a close watch over the herd. Joey is highly trained and has many years of experience trail riding and competing in shows and obstacle courses with his human partner. Joey still enjoys his active lifestyle of pleasure riding.
Tehya is a young Jenny (aka female) Burro that lived the life as a wild burro roaming the Mojave Desert in Arizona until she was gathered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at the age of 3.5 yrs. Tehya was adopted by her human shortly after her gather in 2018 and was 10 months pregnant at the time. She is now a trained, gentle and loving equine with strong prey instincts. Tehya is the mother of Lewana.
Lewana is the foal of Tehya. She was born Sep 25, 2018. She is very playful and social. She loves attention. Lewana is the farm’s protector and often the first equine to greet visitors when they arrive to assess their intentions with the herd.
Equine Assisted Psycho-therapy
Summer is just around the corner! Help your child improve their social skills, gain confidence, and boost their self-esteem by participating in our Equine Assisted Psycho-therapy (EAP) summer camp program. EAP incorporates horses experientially for emotional growth and learning. EAP groups are different than traditional office based groups, they are experiential in nature. This means that participants learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with horses, and then processing/discussing feelings, behaviors, and patterns. There is a great advantage of utilizing horses in the therapy process as dynamic and powerful living beings. The therapists at Ray of Hope providing EAP are licensed by the state of Georgia and are trained in the EAGALA Model. The focus of EAP is not riding or horsemanship. It involves setting up ground activities involving the horse which will require the group to apply certain skills.
Topics and Skills Covered During Camp:
- Recognizing and expressing emotions appropriately
- Social Cues
- Enhancing Self-Esteem
- Positive communication
- Making and keeping friends
- Coping with anger and frustration
- Teamwork and compromise
Ages : 8-12 years old
Cost: $675 per week
Dates: 3 One Week Sessions offered, June 2-6; July 14-18; August 4-8
* Intakes required
Equine Assisted Psycho-therapy
The equine facilitated counseling approach enable clients to experience activities with horses that help remove the stigma associated with traditional talk therapy methods. As prey animals, horses are highly attuned to their environment and offer immediate and compelling feedback
to help confront fears and anxieties clients may be facing to include Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, military sexual trauma and other military related life challenges. In the hands of a skilled treatment team, the horses’ unique sensitivity can help clients understand and build on their own internal processes and resiliencies through self-discovery. Groups are facilitated by Georgia licensed mental health providers who are also Military Veterans.
For more information: Contact us at (678) 213-2194
Cost: $65 per session
Equine Assisted Psycho-therapy
- Creative thinking and problem-solving
- Taking responsibility
- Teamwork and relationships
- Confidence/self esteem
- Abuse (sexual, physical, emotional)
- Behavioral Issues