Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

Dr. Joseph Lancia
75 Walker Rd
Hilton, NY 14468
Phone: (585) 392-3492
windhorsefarmllc@gmail.com

Wounded Warrior Resources

Servicemen and women are used to being active in their military life. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is often a more appealing form of therapy because it mirrors other training and military experiences. Instead of sitting in an office talking (which often can feel confining and stigmatizing); in the arena or pasture with the horses, something active (physical and psychological) is experienced. This helps to facilitate addressing the many faces of distress brought back from military service. When addressing problems head on, this can often raise defenses. Reconnecting with nature and establishing a relationship with a horse can often bypass defenses and allow one to be more open to addressing issues in their life; as an important part of this treatment is experiential and non verbal. The use of the horse as a symbol for other relationships or experiences in a person’s life, or as a representation of different emotions, allows feelings, thoughts and ideas about problems to surface more readily. EAP allows an experience (not only talking but doing) about how to address problems and try different solutions. The activity is processed both at a here and now level, but then the service person is invited to connect this to other areas of their life where what they experienced might be relevant. It fosters aspects of resiliency including active coping (both problem focused and emotion focused), social connection and support, clarification of values, increasing cognitive flexibility in approaching life challenges, exploration of spiritual aspects of the self and ways to incorporate these into healing from trauma.

 

At Windhorse Farm we are familiar with barriers and special issues that surround the military. We have created ground based exercises with the horses meant to target emotional distress associated with a military experience. Some areas of distress that are addressed at Windhorse Farm include but are not limited to:

  • Sleep disturbance
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Overwhelming feelings of guilt
  • Loss of appetite
  • Increased use of substances
  • Addictive behaviors
  • Post traumatic stress disorder
  • Trouble processing grief
  • Irritability/anger management
  • Relationship/marital distress
  • Spiritual issues
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The psychological health needs of service members, their families and their survivors are daunting and growing. The evidence for this is substantial. Despite the suppressing effects of stigma, more than a third of active duty Soldiers and Marines self-report psychological health problems in the months following deployment, as do half of the members of the Reserve Component (DMSS, 2007). Rates of self-reported psychosocial and marital concerns are highest among service members exposed to the greatest degree of danger and who have repeatedly deployed. Further, the number of service members in these subgroups continues to grow (U. S. Army, 2006; Wheeler, 2007).

 

The time for action is now. The human and financial costs of un-addressed problems will rise dramatically over time. Our nation learned this lesson, at a tragic cost, in the years following the Vietnam War. Fully investing in prevention, early intervention, and effective treatment are responsibilities incumbent upon us as we endeavor to fulfill our obligation to our military service members.

 

- Report of the Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health, June 2007

Individual, Family and Couples Therapy
for Wounded Warriors

 

Private individual, couples, family and group therapy sessions are offered. These sessions are available to address specific treatment issues and goals of the individual, couple, family or group. Call for more information or to schedule appointments.

 

 


"May all who suffer be free from suffering
May all those in fear find freedom from fear
May all who grieve find freedom from grief
May all living beings be free”

 

THE BUDDHA