Thank you for your service!
To those of you who have served in the military, we owe you a debt we will never fully realize. We don’t often realize it, but 1 in 5 soldiers return home with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Two thirds of their marriages end in divorce and their rate of suicide is nearly twice the national average.
Equine Therapy for Emotional Healing
In Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, horses are used as tools for military veterans to gain self-understanding and emotional growth. It recognizes the bond between animals and humans and the potential for emotional healing that can occur when a relationship is formed between the two species. In most cases, the horses are not ridden, and usually are not tethered in the arena, but allowed to roam free. Exercises can be as simple as giving the client a halter, and letting them figure out how to approach the horse and put it on.
vR Equine Growth and Learning Center serves the need of veterans who are struggling with the symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD), whether they be debilitating or annoying. Treating the effects of trauma is never easy. And in military culture, the challenge is even greater. The reality is that traditional psychotherapy can be stigmatizing and feel like “just a lot of talk” among people who value doing and action. Service members are hands-on. They trust their experience and the people they serve with. In order to engage them in their own healing process, the solutions offered need to understand who they are, respect their culture and meet them squarely on their own terms.
We also work with the families of veterans as they attempt to re-integrate in the family system. Currently in the program are veterans who have suffered combat stress, sexual assault, hazing trauma, and the trauma of being a helping provider to wounded military.
Clinical evidence and generations of human experience show that horses have a special ability to help people work through emotional barriers without shame or stigma. This is especially true and valuable for people who suffer the effects of trauma.
In equine facilitated psychotherapy, horses serve as metaphors and powerful stand-ins for the people, issues and challenges in the client’s life – or the lives of the couple, family or military unit. A mental health professional puts the horses’ unique sensitivities to work – their special capacity to read and respond to peoples’ non-verbal signals and cues – leading to powerful emotional breakthroughs and life-changing insights. Decidedly hands-on and action-oriented, equine assisted psychotherapy is an important tool to help clients understand and recognize unhealthy patterns, build on their personal strengths and change their lives.
vR Equine Growth and Learning Center models the program of the EAGALA Association. The EAGALA study revealed that 100 percent of soldiers who completed therapy had dramatically reduced stress levels.
Animal-assisted therapy has shown evidenced-based efficacy in patients including war veterans with PTSD, depression, anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorders, dissociative disorders, and other chronic mental illnesses.