Equine-Assisted Therapy

What Is Equine Therapy?


Equine Therapy & Counseling - Brighton & Plymouth MI - nan_and_chaseThe 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 Therapy:

An Informational 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.

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

As Featured on Channel 7 Action News

 

Click here to watch interviews by Dr. Pam on Equine Therapy

 

Join one of our 8-week-equine groups!

Winter sessions begin January 19th and run through March 9th, 2022 in our fully heated barn. No horse experience is required!

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

Reserve your spot now! 

Teen Girl Body Image/Eating Disorders: January 19th, 2022: 7:30-9:00pm

Teen Girl 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 girls ages 13-17. No horse experience is necessary. Concurrent individual therapy is recommended. 

Sessions are weekly on Wednesdays from 7:30-9:00 pm

Closed-toed shoes required.
 
 
 
Adult Mindfulness & Grief: CLOSED (please call for Spring group registration)

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.

Closed-toed shoes required.
 
 
 
Teen Girls Self-Esteem:  CLOSED (please call for Spring group registration)

Teen Girls Self-Esteem Group 

Do you have a teenage girl 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 girls ages 13-17. No horse experience is necessary.


Closed-toed shoes required.

Anger & Anxiety Management for Kids: CLOSED (please call for Spring group registration)

Anger & Anxiety Management for Kids Group 

Anger and anxiety management for pre-teens will be focus on helping pre-teens (ages 9-12) 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 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.

Closed-toed shoes required.

Help For Parents of Strong-Willed Children: CLOSED (please call for Spring group registration)

Help For Parents of Strong-Willed Children Workshop 

This workshop  will focus on helping parents of strong-willed children/teens understand how to communicate and interact with their children more effectively. Parents will learn and practice empirically supported strategies for managing strong-willed behavior. Equine horses will act as a medium for allowing parents to process their own emotional struggles and practice techniques before implementing them at home.

Strong-Willed Teen Boys: CLOSED (please call for Spring group registration)

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.

Veterans: CLOSED (please call for Spring group registration)

Veterans

Are you a veteran struggling to manage the physical and mental injuries left behind by combat related trauma? Veterans all over the country have been finding great benefit from Equine Assisted Therapy. McCaskill Family Services and the Brighton Equestrian Club are partnering together to offer support for veterans suffering from the symptoms of PTSD. Horses, by nature, are incredibly peaceful animals, but they also mirror human emotions closer than any other domesticated animal. This group will focus on allowing individuals to build a powerful connection with their equine partner to overcome the anxiety, hypervigilance, and other difficult symptoms associated with a trauma-related condition. The group will be a combination of both riding and groundwork designed to help group members increase confidence, build coping skills, and reduce stress. No riding experience is necessary. We will teach you all you need to know!

Closed-toed shoes required.

Anger Management Workshop: CLOSED (please call for Spring group registration)

Anger Management Workshop:

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

TESTIMONIALS

"I have been struggling with depression and anxiety and my mom told me about a program called Equine Therapy at The Brighton Equestrian Club.  I had tried going to a counselor a few times, but it didn't seem to help much.  Before I could say no, my parents signed me up for a group for teens.  This experience has completely turned my life around.  I am happier, doing better in school and I can see a future that I could not see before.  Every time my feelings get too much for me, I remember how my horse that I worked with taught me how to get them back in control. Well, the horse helped Dr. Nicole teach me how to actually use strategies that really really work.
-teen girls name kept anonymous for confidentiality
 
"Through my group at the BEC, I worked with a horse and therapist and I learned a lot about myself.  My horse would not listen and do what I wanted and this really made me mad.  In a few weeks, I had to learn how to control my anger and frustration without yelling, hitting or quitting.  I also experienced what my parents have been going through with me when I won't listen or do what they say.  I learned so much and I am happier and my parents seem happier too."
-teen boys name kept anonymous for confidentiality

I was encouraged to participate in the Adult Equine Therapy program (led by Dr Nicole)in conjunction with my regular, in office, therapy. I had no idea what to expect or how it could help me. It was a life changing experience. The program pushed me to bring together all I was working on in regular therapy and incorporate it into my day to day life.  It challenged my thought processes, it challenged me to let go of anxiety, and it pushed me even farther to really mourn and forgive some scars from my past, and finally live a more authentic day to day life. It gave me mindfulness skills I had no idea I was capable of. Truly, over the course of the program all the pieces came together. Moreover, the coordination between my work in weekly therapy and the equine therapy was seamless.  My regular therapist/doctor and Dr. Nicole were always on the same page, which really help too. Dr. Nicole’s lessons, challenges and compassion translated into amazing weekly growth. I was often stunned at how much my horse was in tune with me, and how the exercises and lessons enhanced and helped me heal. I adore my horse and am grateful for all she taught me.  It was hard work, but I put in the effort and honesty and the rewards were huge.  Lastly, Brighton Equestrian Club is a beautiful facility.  It is clean, modern, joyful and very very nice.  It was a genuine pleasure to walk into their facility.  
Sometimes there are things that are life changing for the good. This program is one of them.
Thank you for this opportunity 
-initials L.A.M.
 
"Everyone should experience the Mindfulness therapy group at Brighton Equestrian Club.  As a mom, I am constantly stressed and pulled in so many directions.  Once a week, it was my time to unplug and be in the peaceful moment with my horse partner.  The psychologists from McCaskill Family Services taught me strategies to reduce my stress that I practiced with my horse each week.  They really know what they are doing."
-name kept anonymous for confidentiality
 
"The Equine Assisted Group Therapy program is truly something amazing. It is hard to even put into words the transformations that I have been able to witness first hand. There is something special about horses and their comforting nature that makes you feel so calm and reconnected to the world around us. Dr. Nicole and the BEC do a wonderful job making the environment feel safe and positive. I would recommend this program to anyone struggling with anxiety, depression, grief or anyone just looking to improve their daily life.
-Alyssa Jacobs (assistant to winter 2109 groups)

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.