Robin Risso, LMFT
Kids and Teens in the Paddock
Kids of all ages (that includes adults too sometimes) often have a hard time sitting in the therapy room - they literally can't just sit and talk. In office settings, we use sand tray, puppets, doll houses, and games as a way to help kids engage, express, and understand their experiences. we also use play as a way to build skills through activity. That is one of the changes that can occur on a greater scale out with the horses. We work on staying focused, decreasing anxiety, building confidence and self esteem. Sometimes, the horse is someone who will listen without judgement.
Adolescence can be a fun and exciting part of our journey but it can also be overwhelming, frustrating, demoralizing and downright scary. It's the first time we are making our own life decisions, trying to figure out how to be our own person and still being connected to family and friends. And, that's without even considering what being a teen and the social media pressures. Now let's throw in therapy in an office with yet another adult who cannot possibly understand your experience but who is supposed to "fix" you and get you to be what all the adults want you to be.
One of the reasons I love working with teens in the paddock is that equine assisted psychotherapy offers a more active and experiential approach. What does that mean? Way less talking and way more doing! It's about the teen and the horse and how the horse often helps the teen to understand what's going with their emotions and working on how to make some small changes to make life hopefully a little less stressful, at least some of the time. And, it's not always serious....