Clients learn to deal with emotions in a healthy fashion in our equine assisted therapy program

The Arbor Equine Assisted Therapy Program

One trait common to the majority of individuals who enter treatment at The Arbor are disconnected from emotions and other internal aspects of themselves. This disconnection stems from various painful life experiences and challenges. Something as simple as identifying how they feel at a particular moment can be a struggle.

One important part of the healing process for those fighting addiction is the ability to release painful or negative memories and emotions, and to do so in a healthy fashion. The inability to do so causes many people to turn to alcohol and drugs to manage such emotions.

Our Equine Assisted Therapy program helps individuals reconnect with their inner self and deal with stressful emotions in a healthy fashion. It is one of the leading edge therapies available to Arbor Behavioral Healthcare clients.

“Working with the horses is a way to return to nature, expand our hearts and minds in ways we never thought possible. It facilitates healing at a deep level, those wounds that have left us diminished and fragmented.”
– Mary Lynn Szymandera, LCDC, CEIP

Our equine assisted therapy program utilizes the innate gentleness and natural instincts of horses to help our clients reconnect to authenticity, intimacy, communication, and trust. Horses sense and respond to inner conflict a person is experiencing even when outwardly this stress is not visible. For example, if a client presents externally as calm but internally is struggling with much anxiety, a horse will reflect this conflict by not connecting with the client or by being uncooperative. The horse itself becomes anxious because of the internal conflict the person is experiencing.

When the person is internally connected to their feelings, the horse responds accordingly. Repeated sessions with the horse help the client learn how to reconnect and identify feelings. Eventually, they learn how to openly and honestly express such feelings. The connection between human and horse is enhanced. This process supports our clients down the path of recovery.

The Equine Therapy Staff

The Equine Program is directed by Kris Gonzalez, M.S. Kris joined The Arbor in 2012 under the mentorship of Mary Lynn Szymandera, LCDC, CEIP (founder of The Arbor’s Equine Program). Kris has over 10 years of experience in equine-assisted services and therapies, and over 20 years of experience in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Kris is a Therapeutic Riding Instructor, Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, and is certified by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship. She also received training in Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association and Natural Lifemanship™. Kris has worked with children and adults with addictions and disabilities, at-risk youth, children in foster care, veterans, and the homeless.
Call now for a Confidential Assessment
and to learn more about our Equine Therapy Program

844.413.2690