Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy Illinois
Equine-assisted psychotherapy Palatine, IL offers is sometimes referred to as EAP, EAT, or “equine therapy,” refers to activities with horses that are conducted while being supervised by a mental health professional who is also an equine specialist. Equine therapy has been used to treat anxiety, ADHD, eating disorders, addiction, depression, and many other mental health conditions, and, in addition to targeting symptoms of those disorders, is theorized to help patients build confidence, self-awareness, and empathy. During an equine-assisted therapy session, the client will typically engage in basic caretaking activities with the horse with the help and direction of the therapist; common examples include grooming the animal, feeding it, and leading it around an enclosure. They may also take on more complex activities, such as creating a basic obstacle course for the horse and guiding them through it. (Riding the horse is not a part of this therapy.) The mental health professional and the client will usually discuss what occurred, what was learned, and what behaviors or emotions they might target moving forward. EAP is an evidence-based treatment that allows the client and therapist to incorporate the horse as a kind, calming, non judgmental mirror of themselves. Horses are especially attuned to humans’ emotions and nonverbal signals and they respond accordingly. Particularly patient, perceptive, and attuned to displays of fear, anger, agitation, and despair, horses are able to mirror human moods in a nonjudgmental way, without motive or expectations. As the person in therapy bonds with the horse, self-awareness grows and emotional healing often takes place.
Tonka – The Therapy Horse
Mein Liebling (My Darling in German, aka Tonka) is a roughly 11 year old Haflinger cross gelding. Tonka was rescued at the age of three from a kill pen auction in Pennsylvania. Little is known about Tonks’s background or even age prior to being rescued. Prior to finding his way to Emma in 2018, Tonka was trained as a dressage horse in New Jersey and spent his winters in Wellington Florida. Since joining Emma’s family in 2018, he has become a barn favorite, family pet, shown in dressage, western dressage, eventing, pleasure shows, drill team, and is now a therapy horse. Tonka’s favorite foods include bananas, apples, carrots, sugar cubes, and ice cream.
Emma Kane, Therapist
Emma has been riding and working with horses for nearly her entire life. Starting in grade school, Emma began riding lessons, quickly becoming share boarding and owning her own horses. She began working in a barn by the end of middle school and spending every spare second learning about and spending time with horses. Since then, Emma has fully emerged herself into the equestrian world, at times working multiple full-time jobs in the field. She has assistant managed a boarding and show facility, groomed and been a working student for various trainers local to Olympic level, competed successfully in hippology, horse bowl, and horse speech in 4H, been named United States Dressage Federation Youth Volunteer of the Year, competed successfully in multiple disciplines at local to world show levels, worked for a veterans organization specializing in working with horses, and is currently the Vice President for the Illinois Dressage and Combined Training Association as well as a PM Delegate for the United States Dressage Federation. Emma is thrilled to be able to blend evidence-based therapeutic techniques while sharing her love of and healing power of horses with her clients.
Contact us today at Lotus Wellness Center to discuss your therapy options, like equine-assisted psychotherapy, and ask all of the questions you may have!