Horses- Just What the Doctor Ordered (Guest Post by Dr. Fasula)
Dr. Fasula reflects on her work in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and her experience with her clients at Crossroads Corral:
As a clinical psychologist and horse enthusiast that is EAGALA certified, I started a private practice in downtown Chicago focusing on psychotherapy and neurofeedback, while also offering clients Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Although many of my Chicago clients were interested in EAP, the closest facility was 60 miles outside the city, making it too logistically challenging.
After moving to Central Florida and opening a new practice, which also focuses on neurofeedback and psychotherapy, I have been delighted and thankful to find Crossroads Corral. There are many cases where the in-office experience only takes a client so far, and I appreciate the opportunity to offer EAP as an experiential aspect to mental health.
For my clients who have plateaued with the in-office experience and participated in EAP, all have made significant gains after a few sessions. As an example, I’ve worked with a teenage girl for close to a year that suffers from debilitating anxiety, which inhibits her ability to complete schoolwork and even attend school. She has also been working regularly with a family counselor and a psychiatrist for almost two years. Despite her continued treatment, she was barely passing her classes, and her parents could not get her to start her homework. To-date, she has completed five EAP sessions, and her mother reported that she is sitting down every day to complete her homework, and her grades have improved across the board. She told her mother, “Moose (her horse) killed my anxiety.” She has related to the horses and transformed her experiences at Crossroads into positive outcomes in her life.
Family work becomes more meaningful and inclusive when working with the horses. Typically, the biggest issue with family therapy is getting everyone to show up and actively participate in treatment. Gathering your entire family in a therapist’s office is intimidating and can feel threatening. Often times the “he said, she said” battle ensues, which can cause some to shut down and others to lash out, which significantly inhibits progress. Within minutes of an EAP session at Crossroads, family dynamics are apparent, and the therapeutic activities compel each family member to work together to accomplish a cooperative task. To date, I have received nothing but positive feedback about the EAP experience and am excited to offer such a unique and powerful tool to my clients.
Dr. Amber Fasula Psy.D., BCN
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Board Certified in EEG Biofeedback
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At Crossroads Corral, our goal is for every person in need who walks through our gates to be able to participate in our programs free of charge. However, there are high costs associated with maintaining the farm and horses required to provide our valuable service. We rely on the support from our wonderful donors and sponsors to keep our gates open, horses galloping and people growing.
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