Archives for Equine Therapy
Few people really listen. Sure they may hear the words, comprehend the message, but do they really listen to the meaning behind the words. Every spoken word comes with an emotional context in which it was derived. We may say, “I’m bored,” but really our body language says, ‘I don’t like this.’ Given this example, most people will surely understand that the speaker has nothing to do, but do they also understand that he/she is discontented?
For many people, being around animals is simply easier than being around people. No shortage of sentiments are written about the fact that animals do not judge, criticize, or reject us. And yet, do we ever stop to consider, is the ease with which we connect with animals in any way distracting us from the very things that might be preventing connection in human relationships.
A major feature of PTSD, or any anxiety disorder for that matter, is a state of constant hypervigilance. In a word, people who struggle with very high anxiety can be said to be, for the most part, regularly in survival mode.
While much has been written about human archetypes, and mythology in general, little has been authored about the role that horses play not only in myths, but also in our own understanding of archetypes, and of ourselves. However, there are two important publications that do pertain to this subject.
In 2008, at the East Mountain Youth Lodge, Dr. JoAnn Jarolmen, a social worker, conducted a pilot study on equine therapy for troubled youth. She studied 13 teenagers who took part in a program called HorseTime, founded by Kathy Krupa, an Equine Growth and Learning association certified instructor, and found that, after working with the horses, the teenagers were less angry and aggressive, improved their relationships with their parents and peers and had fewer suicidal tendencies.
Much has been written about the connection between women and horses, and for some time, it has certainly mystified us. While people can be attracted to a great many things in life, the relationship women and horses share is not only better represented than many other things women may do (perhaps the sad exception is dieting), it also holds a symbolism in the possibility of a curative force amongst us. Historically, we have always searched for something to relive suffering, eradicate pain, provide spiritual ecstasy in one form or another.
As a practicing Marriage and Family Therapist I see a multitude of couples in crisis. As John Gottman, renowned marriage researcher notes, “The time between when a couple first notices trouble in their marriage and the time they seek professional help is six years.” Clearly what this tells us is that when couples finally make to the office, things have been bad for a long time. Insults have already been slung, defenses have solidified, criticisms have been stockpiled, walls have been built, and contempt may have even settled in. For those of you familiar with John Gottman’s work, you will recognize what Gottman dubs “The Four Horseman of the Apocolypse,” otherwise known as the four telling factors that characterize a marriage that is headed toward failure.
There is no denying that the bond between a man and a horse evokes a powerful emotion for people, but Budweiser’s recent Superbowl Commercial really hit a home run.
A recent article in Reuters reported that in South Korea, internet addiction is a huge problem. In fact, 1 in 10 children are now internet addicts. And even after a government ban designed to address the problem, internet addiction continued to escalate as children simply learned to use their parents passwords to circumvent the law. So when a young South Korean teenager’s parents were given the suggestion to try equine therapy to combat her addiction to the internet, being at their wit’s end, they eagerly gave it a try.
While there are many factors that contribute to obesity, and certainly, it would seem presumptuous to pin obesity on any one factor, as of late there has been some fascinating research that sheds needed light on obesity and, more importantly, the development of it.