Working with Horses Brings Hope and Healing at Take Heart
Aug 01, 2019 11:28AM
● By Gisele Rinaldi Siebold
Meagan Good with Charley, Remy and Noble
As nonverbal creatures, horses are intuitive and communicate in their own unique, natural way. At Take Heart located in Mohnton, a short ride from both Lancaster and Berks counties, individuals and families are empowered to find hope and healing through therapeutic work with horses. Equine-assisted counselors facilitate the process of learning and growth through a combination of counseling, equine activities and trauma-informed, evidence-based therapeutic techniques.
“The hands-on and in-the-moment nature of this work allows clients to gain insight and practice change and growth,” explains founder and licensed professional counselor Meagan Good. “Equine-assisted therapy is extremely efficient and cost-effective because positive change can happen quickly in four to six sessions, versus traditional talk therapy alone that might take four to six months. When people are with horses, they tend to get more comfortable sooner, resulting in the growth of self-awareness.
“People often come to us because they have tried clinical talk therapy and are still experiencing symptoms,” she says “Our definition of trauma is anything that exceeds someone’s ability to cope, and the techniques we utilize teach clients about self-care and assist them in regaining not only their ability to cope but the motivation to thrive.”
Sessions are available for individuals ages 8 and up, families in all stages and couples. Each session is uniquely designed to help reach a client’s therapeutic goals. Clients are empowered with strategies to face immediate challenges, as well as find deeper healing and growth. Relationships of trust are formed through horsemanship and problem-solving activities.
“Because our horses are given as natural an environment as possible and the freedom to choose to interact with an individual or within a group, they can sense what a client may or may not express and give us cues to help a client feel more comfortable and engage in the work being done,” she says.
“For example, someone may not want to attend a session and is just going through the motions. A horse can pick up on the incongruence of what a client is saying and doing and intuitively respond in different ways, either by walking over directly or waiting for the client to approach.
“There are many parallels between horses and humans,” shares Good. “They are living examples of servant leaders and demonstrate how we as humans can become empowered to assume the role of leader or walk alongside someone as an equal partner or valued team member. Horses make great partners who motivate us to practice important skills, grow and have fun.”