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Equine-Assisted Therapy

Equine Therapy & Counseling in Brighton and Plymouth, MI What Is Equine Therapy?

The specially trained psychologists at McCaskill Family Services are excited to team up with Brighton Equestrian Club to offer Equine Therapy (also referred to as Horse Therapy, Equine-Assisted Therapy, and Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy).

This type of therapy involves interactions between patients and horses in guided activities such as grooming, feeding, leading, mounting, and riding to improve behavior, thought processes and emotional control. Equine Assisted Therapy is a treatment that promotes physical, emotional and occupational growth.

What is Equine Therapy?

Equine Assisted Therapy Webinar

What are the Benefits of Equine Therapy?

Studies have shown that equine therapy has been successful in helping children, teens and adults make significant improvements in a short amount of time in the following areas:

  • Confidence
  • Self- Esteem
  • Assertiveness
  • Anger Management
  • Social Skills and Communication
  • Emotional Awareness
  • Empathy
  • Stress Management
  • Flexibility
  • Impulse Control
  • Anxiety Management
  • Problem-Solving Skills
  • Independence
  • Improved Mood
  • Interpersonal Relationships

Horses are astute at reading human emotions and people often turn to animals for comfort. Horses are by nature accepting and non-judgmental. They can mirror human emotions and behavior and will respond to negativity, therefore encouraging the client to be calm, open, gentle and aware.

While working with horses under the guidance and supervision of an equine therapist, equine therapy patients have a unique and effective opportunity to get direct feedback on their pattern of problematic behaviors, self-defeating negative thoughts and actions. These insights and skills then translate to everyday life and people feel happier, more connected and successful.

As Featured on Channel 7 Action News

Watch interviews by Dr. Pam on Equine Therapy
Who Would Benefit from Equine Therapy from McCaskill Family Services?

Children of all ages, Teenagers and Adults with:

  • ADHD
  • Autism
  • Behavior Problems
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Grief/Loss
  • Trauma
  • Attachment Disorders
  • Anger Problems
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Social Problems
  • Inflexibility
  • Addiction
  • Lack of Empathy

Join one of our 8-week-equine groups this winter!

Winter sessions begin January 31st, 2023 and run through March 21st, 2023. No horse experience is required and all sessions take place in a heated barn. 

Please call the office at (734) 416-9098 for more information.

Teen Body Image Group: CLOSED

Teen Body Image/Disordered Eating Group

Is your teen struggling with a negative body image, disordered eating or excessive exercise? Through a combination of Cognitive Behavioral and Dialectical Behavioral techniques, along with the powerful effect of the horse-human connection, this focused equine assisted therapy group will teach strategies to help increase self-esteem and self-efficacy, build relationships, increase communication, manage anxiety and regulate emotions.

This group is open to all genders ages 13-17. Exceptions may be made for 12 years of age, on a case by case basis. No horse experience is necessary. Concurrent individual therapy is recommended. Close-toed shoes required

Sessions are weekly on Wednesdays from 7:15pm - 8:45pm, beginning 6/29/2022 through 8/24/2022, with 7/4/2022 in observance of the holiday.

Adult Mindfulness & Grief: CLOSED

Adult Mindfulness and Grief Group

Stress is a part of everyone's daily life. If you are experiencing stress, it simply means that the demands of the current situation are not matching what you are able to handle! Although stress is normal, chronic stress can result in cognitive impairment such as memory loss, poor concentration/focus, and medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Through the use of the horse, along with a specially trained psychologist, group members will learn methods to help manage and reduce stress, including mindfulness-based techniques. Coping with grief adds yet another layer of stress and emotion onto our every day life. Working in a group setting and bonding with your horse offers the additional support and connected you may need to get through a difficult time. We will work with you to develop an individualized stress management plan, while helping you to master mindfulness techniques that can greatly reduce stress in your every day life. You will leave group feeling more present, and effective/efficient in your work and daily life activities. No horse experience is required.

Sessions are weekly on Monday's from 12:15pm - 1:45pm, beginning 6/27/2022 through 8/22/2022, with 7/4/2022 off in observance of the holiday. 

Closed-toed shoes required.
Teen Self-Esteem: Now Open!

Teen Self-Esteem Group: All Genders

Do you have a teenager struggling with issues of depression, anxiety, isolation, or low self-confidence? Equine therapy could be the answer. This group will utilize a combination of empirically validated Cognitive Behavioral and Dialectical Behavioral techniques, along with the horse, to help individuals build mastery over their lives while challenging negative beliefs. The goal is to help teenagers regulate their emotions, and boost confidence and self-esteem while improving their overall mood symptoms. It is open to all genders ages 13-17. No horse experience is necessary.

Dates for this group begin 1/31/2023 through 3/21/2023. Group will run weekly on Tuesday's from 7:00-8:30pm. Please contact the front office to reserve your spot as space is limited ! 

Closed-toed shoes required.

Managing Difficult Emotions, Kids Group: CLOSED

Managing Difficult Emotions (Kids Group)

This group for pre-teens (ages 9-11) will be focus on helping them identify and manage big emotions. This group will be helpful if you have pre-teens who are struggling with regulating emotions, have frequent emotional outbursts, or just seem to be overly anxious, angry, or depressed.  Participants will use the horses to help observe and identify emotions, generating discussion about these overwhelming feelings and how to handle them utilizing empirically supported therapeutic strategies from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) modalities. The goal of this workshop is to help your child gain an understanding and awareness of their own emotions, as well as developing a toolbox for properly managing these emotions when they intensify.

Sessions are weekly on Monday's from 5:30pm - 7:00 pm, beginning 10/3/2022 through 11/21/2022.

Closed-toed shoes required.

Strong-Willed Teen Boys: CLOSED

Strong-Willed Teen Boys Group 

The teenage years can be an incredibly stressful time for both kids and their parents, filled with ever changing emotions and situations. Adolescents who struggle with the challenges of anxiety, defiance, ADHD, and other behavioral issues often find it difficult to navigate their environment successfully while maintaining important relationships. This workshop uses techniques from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, an empirically validated treatment, and equine therapy to help your child learn prosocial behaviors, while appropriately handling their negative emotions. The horse is an incredibly powerful and sensitive animal that only responds to respectful, confident, and calm interaction. Your child will work with their equine partner to establish a healthy, cooperative relationship, building skills that can be utilized outside the barn as well. Topics such as anxiety regulation, respect, communication, teamwork, flexibility, empathy, and compassion will be at the forefront of each group.

No horse experience is required. Close-toed shoes required.

Emotion Regulation Workshop: CLOSED

Emotion Regulation Workshop: CLOSED

The pre-teenage years can be an incredibly stressful time for both kids and their parents, filled with ever changing emotions and situations. Adolescents who struggle with the challenges of Oppositional Defiant Disorder, ADHD, and other behavioral issues often find it difficult to navigate their environment successfully while maintaining important relationships. This workshop uses techniques from Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, an empirically validated treatment, and equine therapy to help your child learn prosocial behaviors, while appropriately handling their negative emotions. The horse is an incredibly powerful and sensitive animal that only responds to respectful, confident interaction. Your child will work with their equine partner to establish a healthy, cooperative relationship, building skills that can be utilized outside the barn as well. Topics such as respect, communication, teamwork, leadership, empathy, and compassion will be at the forefront of each group. 

No horse experience is required. Close-toed shoes required.

Each workshop session runs for 90 minutes and is billed as a therapy session with a Licensed Ph.D. Psychologist. Insurance companies will likely reimburse this the same way they do group sessions in an office setting. If your insurance pays for out-of-network providers, they will likely reimburse in a similar fashion for these workshops. We will provide you with receipts that you can submit to your insurance company.

Listen to our Radio Interview with Dr. Deanna Lites on WWJ Newsradio 950

If you are interested in learning more about the individual and/or group therapy options available through the Equine Therapy Division of McCaskill Family Services, please contact us at our Brighton office location, (810) 224-1676. No riding experience is necessary. As groups form, we will try to match your child with same-age peers.