"I enjoyed physically engaging with the horses while having an emotional and mental connection with them was good for me in being able to express myself. The therapy aspect was inspiring to me because of how I do not do the best talking with people; so being able to do exercises and talk to the horses was extremely helpful for me with communication. The Heading for Home program is such a great program especially for all of these racing horses that have so much pressure placed on them, I think it is a great way for the horses to get their mental release as well from the track and the farms they have been passed from."    K.M.

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Studies have shown that spending time with pets promotes physical and emotional wellness in humans.  At the ECS Psychological Services Therapeutic Horse Farm, we promote mental health not only with our cats and dogs, but also through spending time with horses. Equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP) is an experiential treatment in which people get to enjoy interacting with horses in an assortment of ways. A horse professional and a licensed therapist work together with our clients and our horses to create a meaningful experience that can be utilized to treat a multitude of life difficulties and mental health challenges. These may include issues such as trauma, anxiety, depression, behavioral issues, attention deficit disorder, communication issues, substance abuse, eating disorders, family conflict, and relationship difficulties, among countless other concerns.  While the client interacts with the horses, they have many opportunities to gain insight and self-awareness as they reflect on their experience. How we interact with horses and how we create meaning from these experiences is often relational to how we experience other aspects of our lives. The horses can be clear mirrors in which to see ourselves. Horses are also completely nonjudgmental. They offer an opportunity for a trusting, healthy relationship that can carry over to other relationships in our lives, whether it be with other people, food, substances, or our to-do list. The benefits from equine-assisted psychotherapy are widely ranging and continually being discovered. We are proud to offer this unique and successful approach to treatment.

*Client experiences*

Dana Jacobs offers a Trauma Group:

This is an experiential group where adults can process and grow from trauma they have experienced at any time in their lives. The group serves as a safe place where participants can journey at their own pace and readiness toward working through their trauma. The group utilizes the space at our farm location and includes time outside for movement, gardening, and some work with our horses. There are also activities that bring us inside yet still provide experiences where trauma is given shape in order for participants to engage and move forward.

Here at ECS Psychological Services, we not only acknowledge the benefits of individualized therapy but also those of group therapy sessions. Group therapy provides the opportunity for patients to share their thoughts in a safe and secure atmosphere within an encouraging environment which includes others experiencing similar issues. Our group offerings include a men’s gestalt group, an equine therapy group, and a health & wellness group.

Stephen Cowart offers a Men’s Gestalt Therapy Group. The group is limited to 10 men. The group is ongoing, and members are ask to commit to 13 weeks at a time. The group currently meets on Mondays from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. New members can join at the beginning of each quarter if spaces become available. There is no set topic for the group and men are welcome to bring up anything they feel is blocking them from enjoying their lives. We frequently discuss money, relationships, sex, work, children, parents, shame, anxiety, and depression. Men often draw strength from each other as they learn alternative ways to solve their common problems.

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