I have posted about this before. When we hear ‘PTSD’ (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), most of us think about military veterans. But in truth, trauma can happen to anyone in a multitude of day-to-day situations. This ‘Letter to the Editor’ published in Press Herald, tells of a young girl, daughter of a veteran, who struggled with her own traumatic experiences due to her father’s mental health issues.
Sadly, this woman’s experience is not uncommon. There are so many life experiences that can leave a person unable to cope in the way they had before. Accidents. Death of a loved one. Abuse. Neglect. Abandonment. Living/working in an environment that is highly stressful/dangerous, such as being Police Officer or Firefighter and even a Doctor who deals with life and death situations on a regular basis. Some people are more resilient, though many others will struggle to find their way after experiencing trauma. And trauma changes the brain. This means that the effects can be lifelong. First, we must recognize and acknowledge that harm has been done, so that we can move on to finding a path to healing.
Those struggling with PTSD may experience sleep issues. They may become hyper-vigilant in what appears to others as ‘normal’ situations. They may struggle to manage frustration and anger, but any strong emotion may cause difficulty. They may become depressed and withdrawn. And as in the story related by Zoe Gaston, the family and loved ones can suffer as well, developing their own PTSD.
There is growing research supporting the benefits of Equine Assisted interventions for those struggling with PTSD. As stated in the sited research, work with horses can ‘address self-esteem and personal confidence, communication and interpersonal effectiveness, trust, boundaries and limit-setting’ (among other things!)
Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy works with children as young as 4, teens, adults and even seniors. Session are one-on-one, one client, one Qualified Mental Health Associate and one horse. Our sessions focus on each client’s individual goals and include learning about horse and herd behavior, relationship building, ground work and mounted work. Rather than having a set ‘timeline’ our program is more open-ended. We work at the pace required to serve the client. If there is a lot of anxiety, we may stay on the ground longer, but by the 4th session, most of our clients are ready to mount. We have a large outdoor arena, as well as a covered arena, so our work continues year round.
If you, or someone you know, are struggling with PTSD, please seek help. We are here and would be happy to meet with you. We will show you around the ranch, introduce our incredible herd, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we might be able to help. Call of email today to schedule a visit.