Treatment ProgramsEquine-Assisted Therapy
New Leaf Center offers equine-assisted therapy for our individual clients, couples and small groups. In this experiential therapy, horses are added to the client’s treatment. Clients participate in ground work with the horses through interactive exercises that can reveal what they are working on.
Therapist and New Leaf Center co-owner Patti Hall, MS, LMHC, CSAT, CAC, has had training in equine assisted therapy. She is present for all therapy sessions at an equine facility about 30 minutes from New Leaf Center’s office in Winter Park. Clients have said it is a very peaceful environment that helps their healing. The horses there are well cared for and accustomed to human interaction. Each horse has its own unique story and personality. And each contributes its own dynamic to the process.
Therapy sessions are customized to the needs of participating clients. Sessions are designed to help them learn about themselves and gain insights into their relationships with others. They often address patterns that are causing distress in clients’ lives. And they also help clients develop better life skills and rethink deep-rooted beliefs that are no longer useful.
Horses are intuitive and very good at picking up on non-verbal communication. Perhaps that’s because their amygdala – the part of the brain that processes emotions – is larger than it is in human brains. So horses can mirror back to people their feelings, behaviors, and relationship approaches. Interaction with horses has helped clients develop healthy boundaries, address fear and trust issues, and build self-confidence.
Studies have shown that people of all ages can benefit from equine-assisted therapy. Horses have been used to help treat a variety of mental health issues, including:
- Addictions and substance abuse issues
- Mood-related issues
- Grief and loss
- Trauma and posttraumatic stress (PTSD)
- Inattention and hyperactivity (ADHD)
- Bipolar Disorder
In a group setting, equine therapy can show how clients work together in a team. It can reveal useful insights for both personal and professional relationships. Some clients have greatly improved their communication style and interpersonal approach in teams. And they’ve learned to be clear and direct in their intent and delivery.
Being able to witness, participate and problem-solve in a group encounter with horses can be both grounding and empowering. Being in a natural environment also activates all five senses, which can be both a soothing and awakening part of healing.
For these reasons, equine-assisted therapy can be a valuable addition to a client’s healing journey. Each New Leaf Center therapist can help determine if it is an appropriate option for a client’s treatment.
(407) 644 - 8588
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Fax: (407) 644-8184
New Leaf Center
1850 Lee Road, Suite 116
Winter Park, Florida 32789
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