New PTSD Study Highlights Potential Benefits of Certain Therapies

We are always looking for research that supports the long term benefits of given therapeutic interventions. In this study, reported in ScienceDaily, it is reported “Both civilians and military veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reap long-term benefits from psychotherapies used for short-term treatment, according to a new study from Case Western Reserve University”.

The study looks at two types of interventions: trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy. The article goes on to explain, “Broadly, cognitive behavioral therapy reduces symptoms by changing patient behavior and addressing maladaptive thoughts. In particular, exposure therapy-considered the current standard for PTSD treatment-exposes patients to feared stimuli under deliberate, controlled, safe conditions.”

When you look at the goals of Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR) you can see that they would also address the “changing patient behavior and addressing maladaptive thoughts” listed under ‘Cognitive Behavioral’ therapy. This is a partial list of the goals of PSR:

  • Behavior Management Skills
  • Effective Communication Skills
  • Problem Identification and problem solving skills
  • Developing skills to become emotionally connected to themselves and to others
  • Identifying right from wrong

We see the results every day with the clients we serve, but it is always nice to have see new research that supports what we do! Through work with horses, we help children, teens and adults struggling with PTSD and many other social, emotional, behavioral and mental health issues.

If you or someone you know is dealing with PTSD, seek help. We are here to be part of a comprehensive treatment plan. We will work with your clinician to provide ancillary support services intended to supplement the work you and your clinician are doing.  We would be happy to schedule a time for you to visit the ranch. We will show you around, introduce our incredible herd, learn more about what you are dealing with and will share how we may be able to help. Call or email to set up a visit.

 

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An Exciting Look at What CAN be Done to be Inclusive

The number of people diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum has increased significantly. We must find ways to help these individuals lead healthy, happy lives. This starts with providing early intervention services, but is really a lifelong process of creating situations where they can find inclusion and are able to reach their highest potential. It is exciting to see new opportunities for each person to have a happy, healthy and productive life!

This Forbes article looks at what is happening in the workplace to create an ‘Autism-Friendly’ environment. The article shares that there are many steps, from helping those on the spectrum to develop real skills, such as writing a resume, to interview, but that this is only a small part of what needs to happen. There are physical accommodations as well as training for all staff on what it means to be someone with developmental differences and how to make them feel safe and valued. The article really is inspiring in that it gives good, solid examples of how we can make room for everyone!

There are many ways to help those on the spectrum become more comfortable with the world at large AND to help neuro-typicals understand and accept that different does not mean wrong or bad. Early interventions are very important and at Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy, we work with children as young as 4. We may focus on staying on task, learning and implementing self-soothing skills, learning to read social cues ‘Ruby has her ears back and her head is very high. What do you think that means?’ and how to deal with a variety of sensory situations (smells, the way a horse’s coat feels) among other things! At any one time, we may have 2-4 clients working side by side, with their own Qualified Mental Health Associate, so clients may also learn about appropriate social interactions. Work with horses can be a powerful intervention!

N.E.A.T. works with children, teens and even adults on the spectrum. Through work with horses we want to help each client reach their full potential. If you know someone on the spectrum who might benefit from what we have to offer, call or email and we will schedule a time for you to visit. We will show you around, introduce the horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we might be able to help.

 

 

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Veterans Benefit From Partnering With Horses

It is so promising to see someone who believes in the healing power of horses investing in providing concrete evidence for all to see!

We see it in the work we do. Not just with Vets, but with kids, teens and adults who have come out of traumatic home situations. They are/have been in foster care or adopted after being born into chaos. People who have lived through trauma. School shootings. Death of a loved one. Lived through domestic abuse/violence. Sometimes as a victim. Sometimes as a witness. They have been attached/assaulted at gun-point. At knife-point. With the treat of violence. There was an accident. They were injured. We are really just starting to understand that there are many, many triggers for PTSD.

The News-Review is providing a look into a study, being funded by Earle Mack. The Man O’ War Project started in 2015, Columbia University Irving Medical Center,  to do a long-term clinical study that would measure the efficacy of equine therapy on military vets suffering from PTSD, and then create a standardized equine therapy protocol.  Yuval Neria, co-director of the study and director of Columbia’s PTSD program views “horses as the ideal companion to interact with military PTSD sufferers”. This is in part due to “both horses and military PTSD suffers tend to be “hypervigilant and overaroused” creating a very interesting dynamic. We will be watching for the findings, which should be released later this year.

We know that the result will show what we personally know to be true. Horse are incredible at helping people with PTSD find a path to health and healing. We see it. We live it in the work we do. Our treatment team consists of Qualified Mental Health Associates (QMHA)/PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructors, working under the supervision of a Licensed Marriage and Family Counselor AND of course our incredible horses. We are here to be a part of a comprehensive treatment program.

If you, or someone you know, are struggling with PTSD we are here to help. Call of email and we will schedule a time for you to visit the ranch. We will take you on a tour, introduce our wonderful herd, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we might be able to help.

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Not Everyone Experience Depression in the Same Way

My guess is, that when most people think of ‘depression,’ they think of overwhelming sadness and perhaps grief, but this is not how everyone with dealing with depression feels. For many people it is an inner deadness to all feelings. No joy. No sorrow. Nothing. Like trying to experience life while wrapped in bubble wrap.

In a PsychCentrals blog on this topic,

The blog article is informative, talking about where these feelings of ‘numbness’ may be coming from, and suggesting several strategies for self-help.

Several things on the suggestions list can be implemented and even amplified through work with horses. We often check in with our clients about how they are feeling. We find that even if a client starts their session ‘not feeling it’ by the end of the session they report that they are feeling better ‘Sammy makes me happy!’ We talk about feelings, working on a variety of ways to express how something feels. Maybe grooming a horse makes a client feel ‘soft and warm,’ while asking for the trot makes a client feel ‘tingly’. And best of all, spending time with horses is VERY nurturing!

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, there is help available. Work with horses can be an powerful part of a treatment plan. Call or email and we will schedule a visit to the ranch. We’ll show you around, introduce our wonderful horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help.

 

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Anxiety and Friendship

Anxiety can cascade into so many different areas of someone’s life. Yes, people may feel anxious about all kinds of things and this anxiety may keep them from doing things, even things that they may enjoy. But it can be even more complicated. When someone stops doing the things they usually do, they may also cut themselves off from friends and family. This can cause the person who is struggling to feel like they are letting others down and even lead to the added burden of depression.

In this The Mighty blog, author Juliette Verzi talks about how anxiety can cause someone to do things that may seem impolite or rude. The person struggling is not unaware of their behavior and can end up feeling like they are a ‘bad friend’. She invited people who follow her blog to share their experiences and stresses that ‘True Friends’ will understand and stick with you.

I have to say, I am currently working with a client that struggles in this area. She fears the rejection that may result from her lack of engagement, so at times she is the ‘first mover,’ pushing away family and friends. This makes her feel sad and more and more isolated. We are working on her being more open and honest about what she is feeling, especially when it comes to her family. She is reminded that she would not lash out at her horse ‘You wouldn’t treat Sammy that way’ even if she was feeling anxious about something. She is learning and practicing self-soothing/calming skills that she can use when she does feel anxious. She is a very sensitive young lady and we will continue, with the help of her horse, Sammy, who she adores, to work through this.

Anxiety can be debilitating. Don’t let it steal your love of life. Seek help. We are here to be a part of a comprehensive treatment plan. We would be happy to schedule a visit for you to the ranch. We show you around, introduce our incredible herd, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help. Call or email us today.

Posted in Anxiety Disorders, Asperger's, Bipolar, Depression, Eating Disorders, Mental Health, PTSD, Teens | Leave a comment

What Lies Ahead for Those on the Spectrum

It is a wonderful thing that we now have so many great interventions for kids on the spectrum. We have learned a lot and now at a very early age, kids on the autism spectrum are receiving lots of services that can help them move towards integration into more neuro-typical situations.

Even in our schools we are seeing more acceptance and accommodations being made that allow kids and teens on the spectrum to be successful. Even some colleges are now offering special programs so that people facing challenges can continue higher level education.

However, at some point, these ‘kids’ become adults and we are still really struggling to figure out where they will fit in. This Huffington Post ‘Opinion’ piece shares one mother’s struggle to help her son find a life that will support him as he becomes a more independent adult. The truth is, we need to make a sure that people who are capable of contributing and are probably happiest when they feel like they are accepted and part of the world around them have options! There are some and I encourage you to check out what your community has to offer and share it here in the comments section. I am proud to say that locally, Starbucks offers a wonderful training program that allows those with challenges to find a place with the Starbucks family.

Yes, Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy works with children as young as 4, teens and even adults on the autism spectrum. Through work with horses, we build social cue awareness, self-soothing/calming skill and increase self confidence (among other things!) All skills that will help them throughout their lives. We are here to be a part of a comprehensive treatment team. Call or email us and we will schedule a visit for you to the ranch. We will show you around, introduce our wonderful herd, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help.

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The Challenges of More Than One Diagnosis

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is complicated. Because it is a spectrum, you have both low functioning, perhaps non-verbal people and then you have those who may just seem ‘quirky’. They don’t always fit in and are usually (but not always) socially awkward. However, it gets even more challenging when you add a mental health issue, such as ADHD.

There is new research that this combination of a neurological issue (ASD) and a mental health issues (ADHD) can lead to other serious issues. Obviously, this complicates the lives of both those who struggle with these issues and the family who works so hard to support them. According to Paul H. Lipkin, director of Medical Informatics and the Interactive Autism Network at Kennedy Krieger Institute, “The takeaway from the study’s findings, and one that both parents of children with ASD and doctors need to keep in mind, is that managing these psychiatric disorders is a dual effort. That by working closely together in monitoring a child for anxiety and mood symptoms, we can ensure early diagnosis and treatment, which is key to preserving a child’s quality of life.”

At Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy we look at the whole picture. With ASD we may work on building confidence, reading social cues and engaging appropriately with peers and adults. With ADHD we probably will be working on increasing focus and decreasing impulsive behaviors. With a mood disorder we again are looking at building confidence, but also on being able to express feelings in an open and appropriate way and on learning and utilizing self-soothing and calming skills.

The bottom line is, if you know a child who is struggling, seek help. We are here to help. Call or email us and we can schedule a visit to the ranch. We will introduce our wonderful herd, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help.

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ADHD a Neurological Disorder?

Wow! There is some fascinating new research that is pointing to the possibility that “early-onset brain anomalies” in young children, may be tied to “attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in preschoolers”. The article appears in The New York Times and the result of the study were published Monday in Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. The results “tell us that this is not just a behavioral disorder. It is a neurological disorder.”

The good news is, when we begin early interventions, we can reshape/rewire and expand the brain’s function. According to Dr. Mark Mahone, the senior author of this study, “…what matters most is not so much what the brain looks like at any particular moment…but how the brain grows and changes; it’s the trajectory that needs to be understood, and which will help project future function and target help and interventions”.

Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy works with children as young as 4. We provide one-on-one interactions for each client with a Qualified Mental Health Associate and a horse of the client’s choosing. Through work with horses, clients build on their ability to stay focused and on task. They diminish impulsive behaviors “they worry our horse,” build self-confidence and learn to set safe personal boundaries (among other things!)

If you know a child that is struggling with ADHD, (or other social, emotional, behavioral or mental health issues) we are here to help. Call or email and we will schedule a visit for you. We will show you around the ranch, introduce our wonderful herd of horse, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help.

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Powerful Article About Mental Health Issues

I’m not going to say much in the way of a ‘lead in’ to this really candid article about one mother’s struggle to help her son, while keep herself and her family safe. Suffice to say, we have seen this same story many times through the years we have been providing mental health interventions. If this is your story, seek help and know that you are not alone. Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy can be a powerful part of a comprehensive treatment plan.

Now, let me share Liza Long’s story… be sure to read the follow up piece at the end of the article.

Again, you are not alone. There are answers. Seek help. If you need a referral, call or email us and we will do what we can to help.

Posted in ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Asperger's, Autism, Bipolar, Children's issues, Depression, Mental Health, ODD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Schizophrenia, Teens | 1 Comment

Equine Therapy Helps Alleviate PTSD Symptoms

It is very rewarding when new research supports what we know. Working with horses can have a powerful positive impact on the lives of those struggling with PTSD.

This Reuters Health News article discusses the results of a new study with impressive findings. “After three weekly riding sessions, 32 participating veterans lowered their scores for symptoms of the disorder” and “…after six weeks, participants experienced a clinically significant reduction in their symptom scores. In other words, they were capable of doing things – such as going to a supermarket – that they might have been unable to do when they started the program.”

We know the power of work with horses. We see it every day with our clients. Whether they are struggling with ADHD, anxiety, depression or in so many cases, with PTSD, horses can truly make a difference. That’s why we continue to be committed to creating a program specifically for local Vets and their families. Through the years we have made several contacts with the VA and various local Vet’s organizations, but sadly have had very little success getting anything off the ground.  We know there is interest and have even met with representatives from the VA, but so far nothing has materialized.

WE ARE HERE AND WANT TO HELP. If you know someone who can help us help the Vets in Northern Nevada, please contact us – neatinfo@yahoo.com

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