Healing Through Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies (EAAT)
In our last episode we introduced one of the non-traditional therapies that we provide through our FRC. We discussed what non-traditional therapies are and how beneficial they can be to an individual’s journey to long-term recovery. As mentioned before, at the FRC we believe non-traditional therapy can support and boost the positive effects of traditional therapy. In this episode, we continue this discussion, but now, we highlight Compadres Therapy. Compadres Therapy is a local non-profit that offers custom built Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies services in our region. Through this episode we talk with Joy Ferguson, Executive Director of Compadres Therapy. We discussed what is Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies and how it can benefit an individual’s healing journey. We’ll also talk about why Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies can be considered a non-traditional therapy and how it can boost mental health. COMPADRES THERAPY- A HIDDEN GEM IN OUR REGION Compadres Therapy is an 11-year old non-profit located in the El Paso region and let me tell you, it’s truly a hidden gem in our community. They offer different services such as, Equine Facilitated Movement (EFM) / Hippotherapy, Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL) and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP). However, services can be customized according to the goals of the individuals or groups to maximize outcomes for success. Compadres Therapy, serves individuals who identified with,
· Attention Deficit Disorder · At-risk Youth · Autism Spectrum Disorder · Cerebral Palsy · Down Syndrome, · Mental Health Concerns · Genetic Conditions/disorders · Traumatic Brain Injury · Hearing Impairment · Intellectual Disability · Learning Disability · Orthopedic Disorders · Paralysis · PTSD · Speech Impairment · Substance Abuse · Terminal Illness · Violence, abuse or trauma · Visual Impairment · Weight Control Disorders · Individuals socially and/or economically disadvantaged
All of their services are facilitated by Occupational, Speech or Physical Therapists, Therapeutic Riding Instructors and a Mental Health Licensed Professionals.
Anyone who enroll in these services at Compadres Therapy has the opportunity to work with one of their 16 wonderful horses.
WHEN CAN WE CONSIDER EQUINE ASSISTED ACTIVITIES & THERAPIES A NON-TRADITIONAL THERAPY?
In my discussion with Joy, I shared that our FRC staff had the wonderful opportunity to experience one session with Compadres Therapy. Like many, I didn’t know what to expect nor did I have any recent experience with a horse. To be quite honest, I was intimidated by such a majestic animal. But once I got to the site, I felt a sense of peace and tranquility.
I soon learned that horses are very emotional animals and they can connect with our emotions. I had the opportunity to work with a hyper but at the same time very serene horse. In this session, I brushed, danced and connected with my horse. At that moment all my anxiety and stress flew away, that hour was all about my connection with another being.
Why can we consider Equine Assisted Activities & Therapies a Non-traditional Therapy? Well, sometimes, we may find it difficult to express our thoughts with a professional. Through this experience I learned that I was very in touch with my presence, emotions and feelings; I didn’t have to verbally express anything, just feel, process and recharge.
“Horses are very transparent and honest. If we are not congruent with our emotions, horses will know. What they give back to us is a reflection of what we are feeling,” Joy shared. Equine Assisted Activities & Therapies can be the start of a journey to long-term recovery.
WHEN CAN WE EXPECT FROM EQUINE ASSISTED ACTIVITIES & THERAPIES?
Joy shared with us that horses can offer so much, they can teach us about life and ourselves by just observing. Observation is the initial interaction with have with the horse during a session. We must observe to establish communication and therefore, a relationship with the horse.
After observation, we can experience contact and potentially develop trust and respect. As stated before, each session is adapted to an individual’s needs. One of the most common misconceptions of Equine Assisted Activities & Therapies is that you’ll ride a horse. That may not be true depending on your journey. There are different activities that will be personalized. These activities can include, brushing, dancing, petting, playing, etc.
NEXT STEPS TOWARDS HEALING
We are excited to share our partnership with Compadres Therapy and the impact that it can have for our participants and anyone in our beautiful community.
If you are interested in enrolling into this program, please contact our office at (915) 775- 2783. Due to COVID-19, Compadres Therapy has suspended all in-person sessions for the span of two weeks or until further notice. However, individuals interested will have the option to participate in sessions virtually.
Tune in to learn more about Compadres Therapy and all the amazing work they do in our region.