Will Volunteering Improve Your Mental State?

By Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT

volunteering with horsesChartered Psychologist Ruth Lowry explains the benefits of volunteering as, “a form of pro-social behavior that involves commitment given over an extended  period of time”.

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Study Suggests that Equine Therapy is Effective

By Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT

equine therapyCertainly anyone willing to try an alternative therapy like equine therapy might also wonder if it is truly effective. And yet, typically, alternative therapies also are shy on research, and finding valid, and relevant studies can be challenging.

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Equine Therapy: A New Years Challenge

By Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT

equine therapyFor most people, New Years is about Resolutions. It is at this time that we take an inventory of the year past and begin to make determinations about where we would like to go and what we would like to accomplish in the next year. In this way, resolutions can be sort of like symbols of our ideal selves. This is how we would ideally like to be. Whether we will get there is, of course, another matter.

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Equine Therapy: A Respite From Holiday Mayhem

By Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT

Not long ago, I blogged about the effect of time spent around a horse on materialism. In that blog, I mentioned that simply being around animals illuminates the desire to connect with not only one another, but other living beings in general. Perhaps at no other time are we faced with the conflict between materialism and connection than at Christmas time.

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Equine Therapy: Letting Go and Getting More

By Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT

equine therapyWhat are you holding on to? Do you relationships sometimes feel strained? Do you feel as if you’re working harder than you should be? Perhaps you are wanting your partner to change, be something different, act differently, or do more of this and less of that.

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Horses, Not Dogs, Reduce Aggression in Violent Offenders

By Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT

equine therapyIt used to be that animal-assisted therapy could be grouped into one general therapeutic outcome, demonstrating reductions in violent behavior, anxiety and depression, as well as improvements in self care, body image and overall self esteem (particularly in the case of eating disorders), however, a recent study shows some different results.

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Equine Therapy: Embrace The Power Of Vulnerability

By Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT

equine therapy“We can’t know things like love and belonging and creativity and joy without vulnerability.” Brene Brown

What is Vulnerability?

Being able to relinquish the need for control, is at the heart of vulnerability. Four separate studies related to effectiveness with people from foreign cultures indicate “tolerance for uncertainty” as the most important component (Fox, 2003). Other qualities that emerged from the studies characterize vulnerability: “high openness”, “low ethnocentrism”, “high acculturation motivation”, “intercultural receptivity”, “low need for upward mobility” and “low security needs” (Fox 2003).

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Equine Therapy Book Review: UNBRIDLED SUCCESS

By Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT

equine therapyEquine Therapy Book Review:
UNBRIDLED SUCCESS

What used to be a relatively young market of equine therapy, equine experiential learning and self growth through horses, now seems to have no shortage of books centering around the ways in which we can learn through experiences with horses.

Yet the concept of just how is it that horses can teach humans — largely analytical creatures — is challenging to explain especially to a reader with little to no horse experience. Certainly, the process takes some imagination.

However, Julia Felton, whose extensive experience came first through the corporate world, understands the just how obscure equine therapy can sound to those who typically wrap their heads around tangible, measurable concepts.

In her new book, Unbridled Success: How the secret lives of horses can impact your leadership, teamwork and communication skills, Felton begins with a clear analysis of just what experiential learning is, and using tables, charts and bullet points when necessary, outlines the different types of experiential learning, and the ways in which experiential learning happens on a daily basis.

Then, with workman-like precision, Felton takes the reader through the same overview of leadership, explaining both the different types of leadership models and the five practices of exemplary leaders.

The next several chapters explore the meat and bones of equine therapy, and using case studies and examples from her many years of practice operating, Unbridled Success workshops in her native United Kingdom, Felton illuminates in conversational like fashion the concepts of authenticity, body language, connection, intuition, herd dynamics, boundaries, energy, and presence.

After fully familiarizing the reader with the equine therapy model, Felton then challenges us in her last chapter, to be different, and makes a solid argument for game training through equine therapy and equine therapy efficacy in the corporate world.

While Unbridled Success may challenge the reader to be different, the book itself is set apart from the array of equine therapy books currently available. Both in it’s easy to read style — you feel as if Felton is speaking to you — and its comprehensive review of experiential learning and equine therapy, Unbridled Success promises to truly bring the reader into the often vague world of horses and horse healing.

For more information on Unbridled Success, or Julia Felton, visit: http://www.amazon.com/Unbridled-Success-leadership-teamwork-communication/dp/1908746513

Girl and horse photo available from Shutterstock



Can A Horse Teach You To Face Your Fears?

By Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT

equine therapyMany people would agree not much can be more fear inducing than sitting atop a 1200 pound animal, with little more than two straps of leather attached to a small bar of metal in the horse’s mouth. No matter how you slice it, the horse clearly has the upper hand. Should he want to bolt, buck, rear, or spin and spill his rider, the horse most likely could quite easily. Combine all that power with the fact that horses are an animal with a very sensitive fear based flight response, and it’s simply amazing to think that they let us ride them at all.

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Can Equine Therapy Improve Infant Attachment?

By Claire Dorotik-Nana, LMFT

equine therapyAttachment patterns can have a profound affect on a person’s sense of wellbeing, ability to modulate stress, and certainly relationships. When attachment is secure, an infant will demonstrate a significantly lower level of cortisol, lower heart rate responses, and increased levels of oxytocin around the primary caregiver, which translates to a feeling of trust for this caregiver, and is later generalized to a basic sense of trust in people. A secure attachment pattern in adulthood then supports support seeking behaviors in times of stress or crisis, as well as the maintenance of healthy, stable relationships.

However, attachment patterns are not always secure, and the dysregulation between the mother and child begins in infancy. While the typical therapeutic response to an insecure attachment pattern is play therapy, a recent study investigated the effect of Equine Assisted Activity (EAA) on mother-child dyads which demonstrated dysregulation in attachment.

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Check out Claire Dorotik's book,
On the Back of a Horse


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