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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 fall!

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

Food & Body Teen Group: Closed

Healing your relationship with food & body

A focus on healing the relationship with food and body is a cornerstone of our non-diet approach to overall health. Teens often struggle with conflicting messages surrounding health and well-being, often leading to stress and pressure related to body image, eating and 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 educate, empower, 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 Tuesdays from 7:00pm - 8:30pm, beginning 7/11/2023 through 8/29/2023. 

Burnout/Stress Management for Adults: Closed

Burnout Recovery & Stress Management for Adults 

Have you found yourself feeling exhausted, on-edge, or easily overwhelmed?  Maybe you've been feeling disconnected lately or out of touch with the things you previously enjoyed?  Burnout is an all too common condition, recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO), and experienced regularly by adults juggling the demands of the workplace, family life, and unpredictable stressors.  This equine-assisted group will offer evidence-based stress management and burnout reduction techniques.  These strategies, paired with the healing equine bond and the rewards of horsemanship, will leave you feeling reawakened and revitalized.  
This group is open to all adults ages 18 and up.  Concurrent individual therapy is recommended, but not required.  No horse experience is necessary.  Close-toed shoes required.  

Sessions are weekly on Tuesday's from 11:00am - 12:30 pm, beginning 6/13/2023 through 8/15/2023 (excluding 7/4 in observance of the holiday).

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

Teen Girl 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 all genders ages 12-17. No horse experience is necessary.

Dates for this group begin 10/3/2023 through 11/22/2023. 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, all genders) 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 3:00pm - 4:30 pm, beginning 7/10/2023 through 8/28/2023.

Closed-toed shoes required.

Social Skills for Kids: Now Open for Registration!

Social Skills Group for Kids

Has your child been struggling to get along with peers?  Are they struggling with self-regulation or behavioral difficulties?  The COVID-19 pandemic adversely impacted many kids during their crucial, formative years for social-emotional development.  This 8-week group will focus on building important social skills, such as recognizing social cues, awareness of the impact of behavior on others, communication skills, problem-solving, and more, in addition to utilizing horses to help children understand how to self-regulate, recognize emotions, and interact effectively with others.  All activities will be conducted from the ground, so no riding or horse experience is necessary.  All kids ages 8-11 are encouraged to join.

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

This group runs weekly on Mondays from 5:00-6:30 pm, beginning 10/2/2023 through 11/21/2023.

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.