As Mental Health Awareness Month arrives, the mental health team of therapists and interns at StableStrides took a moment to contemplate its significance for us, our clients, the industry we serve, and our community.
Reflecting on the integration of horses in mental health therapy and its impact on inclusivity, accessibility, and trust-building, several of our interns studying social work or counseling at universities such as University of Denver, Capella University, UCCS, and CSU Pueblo shared their thoughts.
Equine therapy has the ability to bridge the gap between one’s self and one’s mental and emotional well-being. Through the creation of a trusting and safe relationship, a horse can empower an individual to develop a greater sense of self-efficacy and self-awareness. The expression of emotions becomes grounded in the development of a supportive and nonjudgmental relationship.
I believe that StableStrides helps normalize reaching out for help. We help normalize needing guidance or asking for help. Equine therapy provides a unique perspective of life situations that we all face, be it communication, relationship, or being confident. Mental Health awareness month is important because our mental health is just as important as our physical health.
Mental Health Awareness is so important since it can provide a strong support system within our Colorado Springs Community. It is vital to know that there is a place like StableStrides one can go to be seen, supported, and worked with in order to overcome any struggles they may have. StableStrides provides an encouraging, safe, and unique environment for working on mental health struggles. Using horses in mental health care allows the client to develop many applicable skills they can use when at home and throughout their daily lives. The bond one creates with the horses is amazing to watch develop and grow, and I encourage everyone to take a look at how StableStrides and their herd can help.
At StableStrides, our mental health therapists have noted the positive transformations their clients experience in therapy, particularly through the comforting and safe connections formed with horses. Many clients have found progress here, even when other forms of treatment have been ineffective in the past.
May is a special month for the therapists at StableStrides. It is a time when mental health workers join together to highlight the importance of what we do to help others heal. I spent most of my adult life working in the mental health field. I have worked in a variety of settings before finally finding my home at StableStrides. I am proud to be part of a team that uses a combination of office-based therapy, walk-and-talk therapy, experiential therapy, and animal-assisted therapy to adapt a client’s treatment to fit their needs. This combination is especially effective for clients who have not responded well to traditional office-based therapy and clients who have trauma histories. Over the last two weeks, I have been asking clients to tell me in their words why they like Equine Therapy and therapy at StableStrides.
Starting mental health therapy often means engaging in discussions about difficult, perhaps embarrassing subjects and places we feel vulnerable including concerns about intimacy, sexuality, infidelity, domestic violence, and abuse. Sometimes mental health therapy means looking at regret and past grief to develop healthy accountability and acceptance. The hope in examining our shadow selves is to find a sense of internal peace, reconciliation with others, and a new understanding of how to work through problems with others in healthy ways. Due to being herd animals, horses have innate values about family bonds and vulnerability. They need trust and understanding of each herd member’s role to ensure both harmony and safety. The mental health program at StableStrides creates space to talk about vulnerability and difficult subjects with the added benefit of support from our non-judgmental herd. Circles of support, personal growth, and wisdom offered through reflection with the support of a therapy team and horses.
Located in the Colorado Springs Area, our herd of horses, volunteers, staff, and interns offer a listening ear and support to those grappling with mental health issues. Regardless of whether you are experiencing depression, anxiety, or trauma, or if you are an active-duty service member, veteran, or civilian, we have a range of options available to assist you. Whether you are seeking to utilize insurance benefits, looking for no-cost alternatives, or prefer to self-pay, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 719-495-3908 or via email at [email protected]. Remember, you don’t have to face your struggles alone – we are here to help.