” I was so low I couldn’t see my way out. Now I can see. I have confidence again.” – Combat Veteran
The impact of trauma is far reaching-from the soul of its victim, to their loved ones and to the community. Family members feel helpless as destructive trauma-driven behavior patterns emerge threatening their relationships, stability, and sometimes their safety.
“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”
Winston Churchill was ahead of his time when he said that. Recent as recent neuroscience confirms that because trauma is processed in the lower, sensory region of the brain as an experiential injury, trauma is most effectively treated by experiential therapy. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is an experiential model in which horses help people discover and overcome unhealthy patterns and behaviors. One teen shared:
“I wanted to take my life multiple times and felt like I was going nowhere in life and that life had no real meaning. My first time at PEACE Ranch I was scared and nervous but I quickly came to love the long drive to the ranch and the smell of horses came to be a calming feeling.”
Finding that calming feeling or internal peace is often a turning point for people with trauma. PEACE Ranch offers the EAGALA Model, the clinical standard in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Sessions are conducted like regular counseling appointments by a certified team including mental health and equine professionals, plus the horses. The model is “solution oriented” and does not involve riding the horses nor is any horse experience necessary. Focusing on the specific treatment goals of the client (either as an individual or group), this therapeutic approach allows people to “create their story” through the metaphor of a horse and the external landscape. Allowing clients to practice their solutions in an emotionally safe environment. It provides the opportunity for people to have a hands-on, life-changing experience in their recovery.
“ I used to be healthy and active. I can’t do the things I used to do. I need to feel that I am still worth investing in.”- One client’s expression dealing with advanced cancer
WORKING WITH HORSES PRODUCES:
- Mindfulness, which counteracts traumatic anxiety, scatteredness, and tension
- Movement and grounding, which decreases arousal and dissociation
- Connection, which reduces isolation, builds trust, and increases confidence
- Re-engages the frontal lobe for better problem solving and coping