Advice needed:starting my own therapy barn - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 12-23-2015, 01:01 AM Thread Starter
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Advice needed:starting my own therapy barn

I am starting my own program, using horses to help heal emotionally scarred people. PTSD, self-esteem, trust issues etc. It will be free. Faith based. NFPO. My dilemma is: I am not a mental health professional, ie: social worker, therapist etc. I love EGALA but that takes a team. I have worked with PATH barns for more than 2 years and I want to do more than give riding lessons. I am considering blending groundwork, join-up, maybe 7 games of Parelli, to help people thru their issues. Any ideas or suggestions? This has been on my heart for 12 or more years and I feel the time is right. I can afford to do this without charging. My motto: God equips the called, He doesn't call the equipt. Positive feed back PLEASE. This is in its infantcy stages and I am open to suggestions.
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post #2 of 27 Old 12-23-2015, 08:36 AM
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I'd think that you need to have some training in the mental health field, if you want to help people by "more than just giving lessons." However, I believe that "just giving lessons", especially when the lessons are focused on their relationship with the horse (like the Parelli Games, for example) is already doing plenty.

Just being understanding of the special needs and being able to adjust your lessons accordingly is already a big deal.

However, if you'd like to do more than that and if you want to be a program that would be trusted by mental health professionals to refer to, I bet you'd need not only experience, but also a certification in something at least vaguely related to mental health. But maybe I'm wrong.

Best of luck to you.
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post #3 of 27 Old 12-23-2015, 08:41 AM
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Your use of the term "mentally scarred people" suggests maybe you should focus for now on volunteering with organizations that provide services to people with disabilities so you gain a deeper understanding of your future clients.
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post #4 of 27 Old 12-23-2015, 11:44 AM Thread Starter
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The term I used was emotionally scarred.
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post #5 of 27 Old 12-24-2015, 12:41 AM
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What would be your source of revenue as it takes a lot of money to support the horses, tack, insurance, facilities. Unless a mental health professional is willing to volunteer time then that means payroll.



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post #6 of 27 Old 12-24-2015, 01:34 AM Thread Starter
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I have my own horse,tack,facility etc. I would like to be able to help people with doing ground exercises. Combining natural horsemanship to heal hurts, increase self esteem work on trust issues. I work full time as a nurse so I will pay for the needs of the horse. Just looking for suggestions on what programs to use.
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post #7 of 27 Old 12-24-2015, 01:42 AM
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You can really negatively influence someone that is working through trauma/emotional scarring if you're not experienced and don't know what you're doing. Just like a person can really mess up a horse trying to train it themselves, you can inadvertently cause damage to someone that's already fragile.

If you're trying to be a legit organization, you need to approach it seriously. You need training and experience. I think your first step should be in getting a proper education in working in the mental health field.

* I'm often reading and posting from mobile and Siri loves to make a mockery of the English language.
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post #8 of 27 Old 12-24-2015, 06:25 AM
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I have to say that Dancing and others are right - if you want to help that is fantastic, but in order to help you have to know how to help otherwise you are just offering natural horsemanship lessons.

It sounds like you've some basic experience working in the field and in general caring for people so I would use that base and contacts that you've got to find ways to train or to pay for training. That way you can arm yourself with specific tools and gain increased awareness. It might also help you become more aware of alternative method and treatments since anyone coming to you might well be visiting another professional for help and as such each person might well be under different forms of treatment. Being aware of those different forms lets you fit in with them much more easily rather than throwing a new slew of theories/methods at a person.
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post #9 of 27 Old 12-24-2015, 08:24 AM
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I've taught many life lessons and boosted a lot of self-esteem by "just teaching horseback riding lessons". Just because something isn't deems therapeutic doesn't mean it won't be to that person.

I'd say you best bet would be to go through the (daunting) task becoming a horse person in an EAGALA team. Being a nurse, you wouldn't expected a someone to be practicing nursing without a license, would you? Likewise you cannot just be a mental health practitioner.

Financially, how do you expect to pay for a facility, horses, workers equipment PLUS your daily living expenses? I have trouble affording my horse, my student loans and my rent on my nursing salary (I'm a full time bachelors degree RN). I pick up over time left and right! Maybe it would be better for you to link up with a riding facility and pay them a fee to use their horses. EAGALA may be able to help you find that, and a mental health professional to work with!
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post #10 of 27 Old 12-24-2015, 05:48 PM
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I agree about ways to help people just with regular riding lessons. One of my students was a child in grade four, horse crazy, of course. Her spelling was atrocious as was her handwriting. I asked her to keep a journal and to work on it as soon as the lesson was finished. Within weeks there was a noticeable improvement and she was complimented by the teach. So there are many ways to assist, especially kids from the poorest families.



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