Battling PTSD with Equine Assisted Therapy
“BEAT it” is for veterans ready to overcome PTSD’s various symptoms. With the help of horses and veteran-focused mental health professionals, this group is designed to address and begin the healing process, with topics including proper reintegration, emotion regulation, meaning and purpose after war and building camaraderie through activities and a meal.
The group will run for 1.5 hours. The last half hour will be a time to gather around the pavilion and eat a meal together. During group, we will address healthy reintegration because being home is harder than being deployed, emotional regulation because emotions were not allowed so we don't know how to have them, the effects of trauma on the physical body (IBS, pain, the trauma brain, etc.), effective communication skills and knowing that you can have an opinion, and whatever else comes up. We will be using the theory of Natural Lifemanship or Trauma-Focused Equine-Assisted-Psychotherapy (TF-EAP) to guide the group through mounted and unmounted activities which have been shown to be beneficial for in-the-moment experiential learning versus traditional talk therapy alone.
The goal of the group is to build skills to handle the things that get thrown at us in civilian life and a lasting community for veterans so if we fall on hard times or start to have suicidal thoughts, we have someone we can trust to call. No veteran has to feel alone. Therapy can be an amazing experience; we believe you can heal while having fun! No horse experience is necessary. Most of our horse activities will be on the ground, although depending on the group, we plan to do some riding.
To provide the best learning experience possible for each participant, we want to select a cohesive group of veterans. If you have an official diagnosis, we ask you to disclose this with us so that we can best understand how to help and whether any unique accommodations are necessary. People who struggle with extreme impulsivity, explosive anger, or violence will not be accepted into the group, but may contact Take Heart about individual therapy services. Veterans with certain physical disabilities or TBI symptomology may not be a fit for this group, simply because we may be limited in how we can accommodate you - but you may contact us about individual or other group therapy services, or for another referral. This group is limited to no more than 10 participants under supervision of 2 or 3 Take Heart staff members, to ensure individualized attention. Groups are facilitated by a licensed professional counselor and/or master’s-level therapist and other Take Heart staff – all with backgrounds in mental health and experience in equine assisted therapy. While most activities will be on the ground, please note that if we do any riding, our horses’ weight limit is 225lbs.
Clients can come prepared for group by wearing long pants and sturdy boots or sneakers. Clothes and shoes that can get muddy are best. You may bring a water bottle or any other supplies to keep you comfortable. Please alert staff of any allergies, dietary or otherwise, and we will try to accommodate you. Please note, we do not have childcare or an indoor waiting area for family members; any family members along will have to wait in the car or may drop you off and pick you up after group.