Life Changing Examples of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy...
Individuals coming to Unbridled Acres are given activities, exercises, and challenges to do with the horse. All work is considered "ground work" meaning there is no riding involved. There is always an Equine Specialist present with the horses along with Sue Miller-Harsin. The client will flow through a series of activities to help facilitate their healing followed by a closing discussion. The activities are tailored to meet your individual needs/issues. Some examples would include:
A young man battles horrible fears in life and has been allowed to do what is comfortable for him. He had missed all or part of 32 days in the first semester of school. His work started in the corral for up to 3 hours trying to figure out how to get close to the horse to catch and halter his chose horse. The session didn't end until he achieved his goal.
The closing discussion was very emotional for him as he saw how he had sabotaged his life for years.
A teenager with learning disabilities manipulates her family to do things for her and make them feel sorry for her. She doesn't follow through tasks/goals and quits easily in activities and school dues to her low self-worth and fears of failure. She is challenged to catch and halter her chosen horse. When she wants to quit believing she can't do it....she is told we won't go on until she completes the task. In closing the session, she is able to discuss her fears and her strategies she uses to manipulate. Discussion surrounds using that energy in a healthier way.
A young girl with low self worth and problems asserting herself with friends. Her passivity/silence caused her a great deal of anxiety in school and in her relationships.
Her assignment was to play "Equine Billiards" getting her chosen horse to move from one "pocket" to the another in the arena without touching the horse. She experienced great stress in trying to carry this out as she "didn't want to hurt the horse by making it do something it didn't want to". She was able to see how she even gave power away to the horse instead of leading and being in charge. The metaphor was obvious for her.
We also work with couples and families to enhance trust, communication, commitment and safety. When struggles of adultery, divorce, addiction or mental/physical health have traumatized the family system, equine therapy gently and tenderly brings people back to a place of feeling grounded, strong, healthy and peaceful.
A couple battling pornography and adultery came to try to rebuild a cohesive trusting relationship. When asked to choose a horse to spend the day with, the wife was able to pick her horse, while the husband picked a horse and then "looked over the fence at the other horses to see if he made the right decision."......It was an immediate cause/effect for them to see their struggles right before their eyes.
A young family broken by divorce and addiction came to learn how to trust their mom...their main caregiver. Her emotional dependencies crumbled the children's ability to trust her leadership skills. After activities and challenges were given to promote mom leading and communication to achieve the tasks...mom was able to see her need to improve her communication, follow through in discipline and strength in leading the children.