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Psychotherapy With Equine Interaction

Equine-assisted psychotherapy and animal interaction with Robin Risso, LMFT, Massachusetts

What is Psychotherapy With Equine Interaction?

Psychotherapy with equine interaction, often referred to as equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP), equine therapy, or horse therapy, is an experiential form of therapy where individuals, couples, or families engage in psychotherapy that may include therapeutic activities with horses under the guidance of a licensed therapist. The serene environment at Moonlight Ranch and the intuitive nature of horses create a safe space for individuals to explore their emotions, confront challenges, and develop valuable life skills.

How Does Psychotherapy With Equine Interaction Work?

Horses are herd animals that are keenly attuned to their environment, always assessing for danger. They are more aware of energy than humans generally are including human energy. Because of this, it may seem that horses understand our emotional world and will sometimes engage (or not) in response to our energetic state which often aligns with our internal emotional experience. This often provides feedback and an opportunity to be more connected to ourselves and engage in a more grounded, healthy way. Additionally, observing herd dynamics can also offer a way to consider the relational dynamics in our own lives and what we can learn from how the herd interacts. 

What To Expect During Psychotherapy With Equine Interaction Sessions

While no two sessions are the same, typically your session will begin with us working together to determine the best focus for our time together. This focus can be on longer-term therapy goals determined during your intake assessment, or to address an issue or concern that you are currently experiencing. 

Once the goal of the session is determined, we will either work in the pasture with the entire herd, work in the paddock with a smaller number of equines, or we may even spend time with the mini goats in their pen.

Wherever the session takes place, we will engage in talk therapy while interacting with the animals. By interacting or observing the animals during these sessions you are provided with a unique opportunity to gain a deeper insight into your own emotions, patterns, or behavior, and learn new skills to help improve your self-esteem, help you set boundaries, and find solutions to issues that are negatively impacting your everyday life and relationships. 

Who Can Benefit From Psychotherapy With Equine Interaction?

Psychotherapy with equine interaction suits families, couples, and individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Whether you're struggling with mental health concerns, navigating life transitions, or simply seeking personal development, this unique therapy offers a transformative path toward healing and self-discovery.

  • Children and Adolescents: provides a dynamic and engaging therapeutic environment for young clients, fostering emotional resilience, social skills, and self-esteem.

  • Adults: Individuals facing stress, relationship challenges, or unresolved trauma can benefit from the unique insights and healing opportunities provided by equine-assisted therapy.

  • Families: offers families a chance to strengthen bonds, improve communication, and navigate challenges together through shared experiences with horses.

  • Veterans: psychotherapy with equine interaction has shown promising results in supporting veterans struggling with PTSD, anxiety, and other mental health issues, offering a nontraditional yet effective approach to healing.

Want to find out if psychotherapy with equine interaction is right for you? Request a confidential consultation call now!

Psychotherapy With Equine Interaction Fees

Individuals - Initial session $250, ongoing sessions $125

Couples and families  - Initial session $295, ongoing sessions $150

Frequently Asked Questions About Psychotherapy With Equine Interaction

Will I get to ride the horses during my therapy session?

No. psychotherapy with equine assistance does not involve riding or sitting on the horses, we only engage in groundwork.

 

What is groundwork?

Groundwork is a term used in the horse world to explain activities that don't involve being on top of the horse. Groundwork could include grooming, haltering, leading, feeding, engaging in play, or providing/receiving connection through touch. 

 

Do I need any previous experience with horses to have psychotherapy with equine assistance?

You do not need to have any previous experience with horses to participate in sessions. I have equine experience and training and will be with you at all times. If at any point during the session, you feel uncomfortable being close to the horses we will move to another area or observe the horses from outside the fence. The safety and well-being of the individual, the horses, and the therapist are at the forefront of every session.

 

Are the horses tied up and secured during the session?

During most sessions, the horses are at liberty which means they have the freedom of movement. They are not tied up or being held by a harness or lead rope and are free to wander, graze, and play during the session. They are within a fenced paddock but have plenty of space to move about. We may engage in an activity that would include haltering and leading a horse designated by me or there may be an animal that is on "stall rest" which means they need to take it easy and are kept in a stall as a result. 

 

Will sessions take place during inclement weather?

In most cases of inclement weather, we will decide together whether we are outside with the animals, in the center aisle of the barn, or the barn office. The barn office does have some heat for extremely cold days and some air conditioning for extremely hot days. It is most often your choice if we meet outside unless conditions warrant me deciding for the safety of the animals and the humans. 

 

How are horses trained to be therapy horses?

There is no specific training for horses to assist with psychotherapy. Horses by nature are sensitive and intuitive and it is these innate behaviors that they bring to therapy sessions. All horses assisting in our sessions are regularly assessed for the appropriateness of being in session.

 

Will my insurance cover psychotherapy with equine interaction?

Psychotherapy with equine interaction is private-pay only and I am not contracted with any health insurance companies at this practice. Payment is required at the time of the appointment. Payment can be made by credit card, cash, check, HSA, or FSA.

Take the first step towards healing and growth! Request a confidential consultation call now!

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