Horses and Healing
Wasatch Crest partners with Eagala certified Equine Therapy Specialist, Jolene Greene, LCSW, to offer bi-weekly equine therapy sessions for clients. As part of Wasatch Crest’s recreational therapy program, equine therapy outings help clients heal from addiction, behavioral disorders, depression, anxiety, and trauma. Amazingly intuitive animals, horses are able to connect with humans on a unique level, while providing therapeutic takeaways for clients each time they meet.
Equine Therapy Sessions
To begin each session, clients are encouraged to check in with their current emotional state. After establishing emotional awareness, clients privately tell the horses about their day. The clients choose their horse based on which one they feel the most connected with.
All sessions are ground-based, and no horseback riding is involved, allowing horses and humans to become equal partners on the same team. Unencumbered by a rider, the horses are able to interact freely with the client. When specific ground-based exercises are implemented, horses become metaphoric for many life-lessons.
Throughout the session, clients work to groom, halter, and build obstacles for their horses. The therapeutic exercises allow clients to explore, problem-solve, and overcome challenges. By interacting with the highly intuitive horses, clients can work through their struggles without the fear of judgment or interpretation from another person.
Benefits of Working With Horses
Horses are highly intuitive.
To evade predators, horses have evolved to be extremely sensitive to their environment. They instinctively analyze and react to body language and other nonverbal cues, providing clients with valuable feedback and insights for other areas of their lives.
Additionally, horses’ hearts produce electromagnetic fields sixty times greater than that of a human heart. Because of this, the client's heart can sync up with their horse, which can increase the client's beta-endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin levels.
Horses sheer size and presence offer opportunities for growth.
Horses’ size and presence make them difficult to ignore, just like the struggles that many clients face. When humans approach a horse, they are able to reflect on how they approach their problems and relationships.
Horses have distinct personalities.
Horses are social animals possessing defined roles within their herd. They have distinct personalities, attitudes, and moods. In other words, horses are a lot like humans and offer a helpful metaphor for practicing social interactions.
Equine Therapy Specialist
Eagala certified Equine Therapy Specialist, Jolene Green, LCSW, leads the equine therapy sessions for Wasatch Crest clients. Every certified Eagala practitioner is a credentialed mental health professional or equine specialist. As an Eagala practitioner, Jolene has completed the Eagala standardized hands-on training, assessment, and mentorship. She is adept at implementing the principles of the Eagala Model, tailoring sessions to treatment goals, and using a variety of process skillsets.
The Eagala Model
The Eagala Model is a global standard in equine-assisted psychotherapy and personal development. The model offers an emotionally safe, hands-on experience for clients. With real-time feedback, clients are able to approach issues in a unique way, where traditional talk-based therapies may leave off.
The model requires a licensed, credentialed mental health professional and a qualified equine specialist. The team incorporates horses into sessions to effectively address clients’ treatment plans and learning goals. The basis of the Eagala model is the belief that all clients have the best solutions for themselves when given the opportunity to discover them.