Anxiety Does Not Get Better

Sometimes we are able to ‘out grow’ fears, such as a childhood fear of the dark. Unfortunately, that is not always the case and when anxiety goes untreated, little by little, it can narrow a persons life down till they really aren’t living at all.

Social anxiety is often a ‘self fulfilling’ issue. A person feels anxious about a given situation and due to many things, including chemical changes in the body that take place when we feel anxious, they become awkward. They have trouble with simple conversations and may withdraw into their own negative perceptions of what is going on, which of course makes them feel more anxious.  This Quartz Media piece is author Helena Bala‘s report of an interview she had with ‘Frank’. It is a story of how social anxiety challenges children, teens and adults. Without treatment this issue becomes a life-defining story.

It might surprise you to know that work with horses can help! First off, horses are non-judgmental. They accept us for who we are in the moment. They come with no expectations. They certainly don’t care what we look like and are not impressed by our conversational skills (or lack there of). All we have to do is just be kind and be present. As we begin to work with them we learn about boundaries, how to set them and maintain them without being pushy or aggressive, but keeping ourselves safe in the relationship. We learn about all the things we can’t imagine ourselves doing (such as picking up a horses hoof to check it for rocks), only to discover that, if we are patient with ourselves, we can do amazing things. We learn to look for non-verbal cues as to how our horse is feeling/responding to a situation. This skill transfers to other situations where we now may be better able to read non-verbal cues in humans. I could go on, but I bet you get the picture.

Please don’t let life pass you by. If you or someone you know struggles with social interactions, seek help. We are here to be part of the team! Call or email us and we will schedule a visit to the ranch. We will 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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The Many Faces of ADHD

Oh I know, when we hear the word ADHD we see in our minds-eye that little boy fidgeting and fussing and getting into everything. In some cases that is a very accurate picture, but you may not notice the same symptoms in girls. This is due in part to different gender expectations. We may be more tolerant for the girl who is a ‘social butterfly,’ chattering all the time with her friends. Whereas we may judge the boy who just can’t stay in his seat as a problem.

It is important that we see all kids as individuals and judge what is going on with them in fair and unbiased way. It is only in this way that we can help ALL children reach their full potential. In this interesting CNN piece, they talk about how damaging it can be to not see and seek help for the girls that struggle, offering tips on what to look for when assessing girls for ADHD.

Work with horses is a particularly powerful intervention for those struggling with ADHD. In order to build a safe and trusting relationship with their horse, clients must bring their energy down. They must manage impulsive tendencies. They must learn and practice the simple skills needed to groom and tack-up their horse and they must work on multi-tasking (legs long, hands low, turn and look where you are going) while still being focused when riding. Additionally, it is not uncommon for those dealing with ADHD to have low self-esteem/self-confidence. Work with horses can show our clients that they can do things they set their minds to. Through work with horses they can learn to be happy, healthy kids, teens and adults.

I know life can be chaotic and it may be hard to find time to question if that little girl who seems to be doing it all is really managing as well as she seems, but be sure to check in and let her know that ‘perfect’ is not expected!

If someone you know is living with ADHD, we are here to help. We work with children as young as 4 years of age, teens and even adults. Give us a call of send us an email and we will schedule a visit. We will show you around the ranch (including our covered arena!), introduce our incredible horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help.

Posted in ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Asperger's, Autism, Children's issues, Depression, Eating Disorders, Mental Health, OCD, Teens | Leave a comment

What is Psychosocial Rehabilitation???

Through work with horses, Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy provides social, emotional and behavioral growth and learning as well as a mental health intervention called Psychosocial Rehabilitation (PSR), but what the heck is that?!

I found this really good explanation and wanted to share it with you.

‘PSR is an interactive, skills-driven service that assists children (as well as teens and adults) to be successful at home, school and in the community. The parent/caregiver can also expect to participate as a full partner in this treatment. PSR services may focus on:

  • Behavior Management Skills
  • Positive Behavior Approaches
  • Problem Identification and Problem Solving Skills
  • Effective Communication Skills
  • Self-Sufficiency/Daily Living Skills
  • Life Goals
  • Identifying Right From Wrong
  • Sense of Humor
  • Developing Skills to Become Emotionally Connected to Themselves and Others

PSR can be a very powerful addition to an ongoing treatment plan, but you may ask, ‘how do you do that through work with horses?’ Let me give you a couple of examples. From haltering to leading and grooming, clients are learning how to do simple tasks, in a specific order, to achieve a goal – getting there horse ready to ride. By encouraging them to stay focused and complete each task before moving on to the next we are helping them learn to become self sufficient and in the case of a client struggling with ADHD of OCD, they are managing the impulsive and disruptive behaviors so that they can accomplish the task at hand.

While leading, doing ground work or riding, client face choices and challenges. They must learn to communicate clearly with their horse and, through this experiential process, they develop problem solving skills. “You want to go left and your horse wants to go right. What can you do to fix this?”

These are just a few examples of how we are able to meet the goals of PSR through work with horse. We feel that it is a unique and profound way to reach kids, teens and even adults who may struggle in a more traditional therapeutic environment. If you or someone you know is living with social, emotional, behavior or mental health issues, we are here to help. Call or email us and we will schedule a visit for you. We will show you around the ranch, 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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A Link Between Technology and Depression?

We have all seen it. A child, a teen, or even an adult who seems unable to walk away from the computer/cell phone or other electronic device. I think most of us already recognize that this is a problem. The person becomes more and more isolated and less and less engaged with the world and people around them. Social skills, school work, sleep all can suffer.

Undoubtedly there are lots of studies underway. NPR reports, that in this journal Clinical Psychological Science article, San Diego State University psychologist Jean Twenge finds that though they have not established that technology ’causes’ an increase in depression and suicide, they have been

technology, internet addiction and people concept – happy teenage friends with smartphones outdoors

about to “establish a correlation between long hours of daily screen time and symptoms of alienation” and this should be a warning for parents.

In order to be healthy and happy we must establish relationships with others and take part in the world around us. This becomes harder and harder as more and more time is spent with technology. Our ability to carry on a conversation and to relate to what others are feeling diminishes. This can cause feelings of discomfort that seem to justify not engaging with others, leading to an even greater urge to withdraw to technology, but ultimately, this can be very dangerous. “One hour, maybe two hours [a day], doesn’t increase risk all that much,” Twenge says. “But once you get to three hours — and especially four and then, really, five hours and beyond — that’s where there’s much more significant risk of suicide attempts, thinking about suicide and major depression.”

It can be hard to get kids and teens to put the technology down, but we have found that the lure of horses can be pretty powerful too! Our clients are encourage to build a relationship with ‘their’ horse. They learn about horse and herd behavior and why horses do what they do. They participate in simple, soothing exercises (grooming) and learn to reconnect with the world around. Though the pace slows down, they still have many things to be aware of while working with their horse, causing them to open themselves up to what is going on around them. Though our sessions are one-on-one, there are often opportunities to interact with a variety of staff and other clients. We give them something else to think about and to talk about. We offer support and encouragement for them to be a part of the social world around them and they discover that this can be a wonderful and rich place to be.

If you have a child or teen that is shutting down and withdrawing into world of technology to the exclusion of all the other wonderful things life has to offer, you may need to seek a powerful intervention. We are here to help. Call or email us and we will schedule a visit to the ranch. We will show you around, introduce you to our wonderful herd, learn more about what you are dealing with and we will share how we may be able to help. Now is the time to make a change!

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Holiday Challenges for Those with Special Needs

Yes, it is the season! So many wonderful events. School programs, family get-togethers, special events, snow and time off from our daily routines. So much excitement, yet so many opportunities for things to go badly! These can be challenging times for adults. You are running around, trying hard to get everything done. Eating things that are delicious, but perhaps not very good for you. Not getting enough sleep. Now, imagine this chaotic time from a child’s point of view!

This CBS News article is a year old, but I felt like it was not too early to start taking the steps you need to make the coming holidays a time of happiness and joy for you and your entire family. The bottom line is tone it all down. You can choose to forego things that are overstimulating. Try to maintain routines as much as possible. Plan for quiet time. You will find that your kids are happier and healthier when you are able to stick to daily routines. Yes, get out and enjoy the special things the season has to offer, but remember that too much of a good things is too much! One of the things that I think can be helpful is letting others know what your child needs. Be sure there are things that they will be comfortable eating and remember that this is not a good time to push them to step outside their comfort zone. Let them know that they have options and choices. Don’t get your heart set on things going a certain way or let yourself be disappointed when your child does not react the way you wish/expected they would to things.

Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy will be seeing clients throughout the holidays. We have a covered arenas, so we are able to provide services year round!

Through work with horses we help our clients learn and practice self-soothing/calming skills that can be helpful when they become overwhelmed by the world around them. We help them learn to work through transitions and changes – ‘yes, I know you usually ride Mystic, but she has lost a shoe so we have to work with someone else today. Would you rather ride Ruby of Sammy?’ We also work on communication. ‘What’s another way you can let Reilly know that he is going too fast?’ We encourage our clients to take care of themselves ‘if you feel like you are unbalanced (while riding) you can stop and get yourself together before continuing’.

We are here to help. We work with children as young as 4, teens and adults, dealing with social, emotional, behavioral and mental health issues. We are happy to schedule a visit for you to come on out to the ranch. We will show you around, introduce our wonderful horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help. Call or email to schedule your tour.

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Let’s Talk Honestly About Mental Health

Come on. Let’s be honest. All of us know someone, a family member, a friend, a coworker, a child in the neighborhood, who is living with a mental health issue. It may be something mild that is managed by interventions such as visits with a therapist and/or medications, or it may be more serious and disabling, requiring hospitalization. It may be a recent diagnosis or it may have been going on for years. The truth is that mental health issues are simply another health issue affecting millions of people and we need to start addressing this and dealing with it in a more effective and compassionate way.

More and more people are coming forward to share their stories and to ask all of us to be more understanding and supportive. This article in Billboard by Benjy Grinberg, founder and president of Rostrum Records (KT Tunstall, Mod Sun, Teammate) makes the case that a person living with mental health issues can lead a happy, responsible and successful life.  But he also points out that we all must be more accepting and offer more health care options. In reality, it is truly in our best interest to help all people find a path to a rich and fulfilling lives.

There are many things that can contribute to a healthier and happier life. Mr. Grinberg mentions, diet, exercise and meditation. There are medications that can help with chemical imbalances and a wide variety of therapeutic interventions, including Equine Assisted Therapy.

Through work with horses, Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy offers social, emotional and behavioral growth and learning as well as Psycho Social Rehabilitation, a mental health intervention. We work with children as young as 4, teens, adults and even seniors. From learning about horse and herd behavior, to leading, grooming and even riding or driving, our clients address their specific issues while interacting with horses.

If you, or someone you know are living with a mental health issue, seek the help you need. There are many, many good programs that can help. Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy is here to be part of the solution. Give us a call or send us an email. We will schedule a visit for you. We will show you around the ranch, 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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10th Leading Cause of Death in the US

Suicide. It is a heartbreaking statistic. Men, women, teens and children are taking their lives at an alarming rate. Our family, our friends, our neighbors, our coworkers and people we pass on the street.

And it is happening all across the country. However, in this report, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) finds that it is more likely in rural areas. They find many reasons, but the bottom line is that there are fewer resources available to those in rural areas. WE NEED TO DO BETTER!

Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy offers services on Saturdays, which allow those living in rural areas the opportunity access this unique and powerful intervention. We work with children, teens and adults, addressing their specific needs and issues. From improving self-confidence (feelings of self-worth) to developing healthy self-soothing/calming skills (just to name 2 benefits!), work with horses is soothing, yet challenging in a very ‘in the moment’ kind of way.

We have 7 full size horses and a wonderful mini in our herd. From grooming to riding, our clients build a relationship with both their horse and the Qualified Mental Health Associate they work with. Our clients learn about horse and herd behavior, who ‘meaning what you say’ is an important part of building trust and how sometimes, we need to just stop, regroup and consider what our options are before making a decision.

We are here for you as part of a comprehensive treatment team. If you or someone you know might benefit from the work we do, call or email and we will schedule a visit. We will show you around the ranch, 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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Interesting New Research on Autism

I’m always fascinated by the new information that is discovered about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). What has become more and more evident is that there is not just one explanation.  The more we know the better we are able to help those on the spectrum have a rich, full and productive life.

This report in Medical Express discusses a new study, published online Oct. 17 in Molecular Psychiatry, that looks why autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are more common in boys than girls. They look at a specific genetic deletion and, though they do find a gender difference in how this deletion plays out, the study does not answer the question of ‘why’. However, the information is another piece of the puzzle and may help in treatment in the future.

Nevada Equine Assisted Therapy works with children, teens and even adults, on the spectrum.  Every person on the spectrum presents with a unique set of behaviors, so we meet them where they are. Sometimes this means working on quieting impulsive behaviors while at others, it may mean helping a client ‘come out of their shell’ and encouraging them to interact more with the world around them. Because we work one-on-one (client, horse and Qualified Mental Health Associate – QMHA) we have no set timeline for what needs to happen and when. Clients respond well to this ‘no pressure,’ yet engaging and, at times challenging, environment.

If you or someone you know is living with ASD, we are here to help. Give us a call or send an email and we will schedule a time for you to visit. We will show you around the ranch, 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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ADHD and Sensory Processing Issues

If you ask most people what the symptoms of ADHD are, you are likely to get a lot of input about not being able to sit still, blurting out information, constantly moving, lack of focus and probably impulsive behaviors. You would probably hear this from parents/caregivers, teachers and maybe even those without person experience, based on what they have heard. And this would most likely all be true to some extent for someone diagnosed with ADHD.

However, there is an interesting new study that also indicates that those living with ADHD may have tactile response issues. This article appears in a rather unlikely source – Gears of Biz, Technology That is Useful to Your Business and Career – but they are sharing information that appears in  the Journal of Neurophysiology, indicating that there is some evidence that those dealing with ADHD have a delay in reaction time and detecting a weak stimulus on the skin. What is interesting to me is that the speculation is that this is “possibly also due to low levels of the neurotransmitters that calm nerve activity”. Though obviously there is more research to do, but it does not take much imagination to speculate that if this is true, that there are ‘low levels’ of a neurotransmitter that calms nerve activity, it could explain a lot of the behaviors that are going on. At least to me that makes sense. Perhaps our highly active child/teen is simply looking for the stimulation that will trigger this nerve calming neurotransmitter. Again, there is more research that needs to be done, but I found this very interesting.

One of the things about working with horses is that there is an incredible amount of stimulus. From the visual environment, to the massive tactile input received while grooming, not to mention, auditory and olfactory stimulation, our clients get a big dose of sensory information and perhaps this is part of what helps them actually calm themselves while working with the horses. Even those who would normally be overwhelmed by too much stimulation are able to find ways to calm themselves, slowing down, taking deep breaths or just taking a time out, because they really do want to be with the horses.

We work with children as young as 4, teens, adults and even seniors. Our work is one-on-one. One client, one Qualified Mental Health Associate (QMHA) and one horse. We work on each client’s specific issues and goals. From leading, grooming, learning about horse and herd behavior to actually riding, our clients experience a wide range of new and sometimes challenging situations, that help them find new ways to deal with their life challenges.

If you or someone you know are struggling with ADHD (or another social, emotional, behavioral of mental health issue) call or email us to schedule a visit to the ranch. We will 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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A Combination of Mental Health Issues

For many people, it is not just one mental health issue they are dealing with. The issues can ‘tag team’ you till you feel just completely overwhelmed. In this Forbes piece by author Amulya Malladi, she shares her experience of struggling with both anxiety and depression and in her book The Copenhagen Affair she explores this situation further, when her protagonist is depressed after a nervous breakdown and she is also suffering from anxiety – everyday tasks becoming monumental hurdles. It is not hard to imagine how this can spiral into a very dark place.

Many of the clients we work come to us with multiple issues. It is not hard to figure out that if you are dealing with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder you might become depressed about how your life contracts around this condition. Addiction usually starts when someone is dealing with some type of pain, physical/emotional/mental and struggles with a way to ease that pain. People dealing with trauma may find themselves anxious about many things and also lashing out at others. This might be diagnosed as Oppositional Defiant Disorder in children and teens.

We have our work cut out for us as we untangle what is going on with those we work with. It is so important that we get to the bottom of what is going on if we want to see true and long-lasting growth and change. Work with horses can be powerful, as horses don’t see labels, they simply see behaviors. Because they are prey animals, they can absolutely relate to the underlying fear (anxiety) that drives so many people. They calm us, they support us (both figuratively and literally!) and they don’t judge us. This lack of being judge can be the first step to not judging ourselves.

We work with issues from addiction to sensory processing issues. ADHD, depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and so much more. Children as young as 4, teens, adults and seniors, we have a place for everyone. If you or someone you know are struggling with social, emotional, behavioral of mental health issues, we are here for you. Call or email and we will schedule a visit. You can come out, tour the ranch and meet our incredible herd. We will learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help.

 

 

 

Posted in Addiction, ADHD, Anxiety Disorders, Asperger's, Autism, Bipolar, Children's issues, Depression, Eating Disorders, FAS, Grief, Mental Health, OCD, ODD, Other challenges, PTSD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Schizophrenia, Teens | Leave a comment