Dr. Blair Barone-Rice

 Equine-Assited Psychology

 


Horse Whisperer Rehab


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Putting Talk Therapy into Action

Horses are mystical animals and people have sought out relationships with horses since they first laid eyes on them. Although riding horses can be exhilarating, there’s something even more profound that draws people and horses together simply standing side by side. Animal-Assisted therapy has long been recognized as therapeutic.



Equine Assisted Psychotherapy has become a highly valued therapeutic modality in addiction treatment centers across the world. Being an Experiential Therapy, working with a horse challenges people to look at themselves and the world, in the moment, here and now. In essence, how a client relates to a horse is how the client relates to everyone and everything in the clients life. Through meaningful therapeutic interactions with the horses, clients metaphorically discover and explore patterns of relating that have become problematic to then begin to develop healthy ways of coping. Basically, it puts talk therapy into action.


Why Horse Whisperer Rehab

Horse Whisperer Rehab is a creative and innovative equine assisted therapy program specializing in providing therapy to clients in addiction treatment programs across South Florida. Working with the multi-disciplinary clinical staff, is a herd of savvy rescue horses, and other barn animals, who have their own physical and emotional struggles to overcome.

Our program is designed to put talk therapy into action by encouraging clients to move out of their comfort zone and into the challenge zone. Incorporating the 12 steps, our psychotherapy groups are designed to assess and strengthen various aspects of Relapse Prevention. Our program utilizes the evidence based EAGALA model (Equine Assisted Growth And Learning Association).


Benefits of Horse Whisperer Rehab


 Willingness

Willingness is an important step in the addiction recovery process. Working with horses is a perfect opportunity for clients to practice surrendering and willingness. That’s because you don’t have to love horses or even like them to benefit from equine assisted psychotherapy. You just need to be willing and open minded so that the horses can teach you something about yourself. 


 Emotional Awareness

 Evidence based research has documented that horses increase human emotional intelligence. Horses can sense emotional states an individual may not even be aware of. Many people in recovery are often confused about and detached from their feelings. Because horses serve as emotional mirrors of human emotions, a horse’s reaction allows clients to receive immediate feedback about their true emotional state. 


Trust

Trust something many in recovery struggle with, is one simple life skill that clients can experience while working with the horses. Horses are a powerful source of unconditional love and have no hidden agenda for doing so. Many in recovery may have strained personal relationships, difficulty trusting, and attaching to others yet able to develop strong, trusting bonds with the horses and other farm animals. 


 Problem Solving Skills 

Since horses mimic body language and human emotions, to get the horse to complete a given task requires clients to figure out the best attitude and emotional state possible when appropriating the horse. This requires creativity, flexibility and thinking thru the consequences of one’s actions.


Stress Reduction

Clinical Research has documented that just being in the presence of a horse for as little as 5 minutes, significantly reduces cortisol stress, blood pressure, decreased feelings of anxiety, depression, and changes brain wave patterns. All of the above can be extremely helpful to those going thru addiction recovery.


Healthy Boundaries

Many people in recovery have developed manipulative behaviors while using. Since horses are prey animals, they cannot be manipulated, dominated, or bullied. Without any words, horses make it clear when someone has crossed their boundaries. Being mindful of creating respectful boundaries with horses can be a helpful lesson in how to not cross the line with humans.


Communication Skills

Horses do not speak, but are excellent communicators. Many addicts are not able to communicate their needs or ask for help. Teaching clients to learn how to understand horse communication and how to clearly and directly communicate back, can carry over into the addicts human relationships.

Empowerment Alcohol and drug addictions can have a catastrophic impact on an addict’s self-esteem. Overcoming the intimidation of working with a horse and tackling a new skill with the horse, helps to build confidence and can empower the addict to master other aspects of their recover.

 

“When I first came to the farm I saw rescue horses that had been brutally broken, physically, emotionally and spiritually just as I was when I came into treatment. I look at these horses and I am in awe of their will to live in spite of how they have been treated. They don’t give up on themselves like many of us addicts do. Like the horses, we can be provided with food, water and shelter. But without that hunger to actually live and believe in ourselves, we won’t make it. These horses are a true inspiration to me.”

Juliet B.

“After being in and out of treatment centers for the last 30 years, I finally got it. If you can open yourself up to the horses, you’ve opened yourself up to change, and you don’t have to wait till you’re 50 years old, like me, to end the pain and misery”.

Michael F.

The Lucky Horse Sanctuary is a Certified Wildlife Habitat thru the National Wildlife Federation.




“When I first came to the farm I saw rescue horses that had been brutally broken, physically, emotionally and spiritually just as I was when I came into treatment. I look at these horses and I am in awe of their will to live in spite of how they have been treated. They don’t give up on themselves like many of us addicts do. Like the horses, we can be provided with food, water and shelter. But without that hunger to actually live and believe in ourselves, we won’t make it. These horses are a true inspiration to me.”

Juliet B.

“After being in and out of treatment centers for the last 30 years, I finally got it. If you can open yourself up to the horses, you’ve opened yourself up to change, and you don’t have to wait till you’re 50 years old, like me, to end the pain and misery”.

Michael F.