Most of us experience some anxiety under certain circumstances. Even if you enjoy people and crowds, there are probably times when you have to take a deep breath before plunging into a situation. However, for many people, the smallest and seeming simplest social interactions can be very painful and fear inducing.
There’s the clingy child, the loner teen and the socially isolated adult and it may be hard to tell when this is just ‘shyness’ and when it is a real mental health issue. This is a pretty good article in NEWS Medical about how to tell when it is more than just shyness. The truth is that Social Anxiety can escalate and result in a restricted, limited and very painful life. People struggling with this issue can miss out on so very much, but there is help available.
As part of a comprehensive treatment plan, including traditional therapy and perhaps medication, work with horses can be a powerful intervention. The lure of horses is powerful, and for many, it is enough of an enticement to get out the door and to the ranch. The treatment team will work on promoting that horse/human relationship – a relationship that is non-demanding and non-judgemental. The team will work on building confidence and self esteem. We will introduce self-soothing an coping skills when the client is feeling anxious and work on decision making skills. This combination of acceptance and being gently challenged in a supportive environment can go a long way towards overcoming fears and anxiety in other situations “if you can manage a 1000 lb horse, you can certainly manage anything that goes on in a classroom”.
Without treatment social anxiety can become a crippling disease. If you or someone you know is struggling, seek help. Call or email if you would like to come out and visit us. We will give you a tour, introduce our horses, learn more about what you are dealing with and share how we may be able to help.