Equus Outreach and Mission Unity Join Forces

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In early April, Equus Outreach of Punta Gorda and Mission Unity of Port Charlotte reached across the Peace River to foster a new approach in helping their clients achieve better mental health.

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Equine assisted therapy often produces positive results where conventional therapy fails. The combination of working with large animals in the out of doors and addressing emotional or psychological concerns has been practiced by trained therapists since.

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In early April, Equus Outreach of Punta Gorda and Mission Unity of Port Charlotte reached across the Peace River to foster a new approach in helping their clients achieve better mental health.

The two non-profit organizations of SW Florida have a single focus. They have joined forces to provide special equine therapy for those suffering from mental illness or substance abuse. Mission Unity is a residential facility providing a substance abuse free environment for those who have committed to rebuilding their lives. Equus Outreach is an innovative program that pairs people with mental health issues (such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, grief or loss, anger management, impulse control, or depression) and horses. Equine assisted therapy focuses on developing communication, patience, mutual respect, and personal growth as key components of mental health recovery. Staff at Equus Outreach follow a professional model using 1 person focused on the horses and 1 person focused on the therapy.

Equine assisted therapy often produces positive results where conventional therapy fails. The combination of working with large animals in the out of doors and addressing emotional or psychological concerns has been practiced by trained therapists since 1999. It is one approach to working through problems that crosses cultures and languages. Often people have a need for “therapeutic conversation” whereby they indulge in “self talk” and reveal private thoughts which they dare not tell another person. They may need time to organize their thinking without outside influences. Or they just need to vent. Horses don’t repeat or judge what they hear. And they don’t talk back. Equine therapy is confidential, nonjudgmental, and conducted out of doors giving the person a relationship with nature. However, it is real therapy in that the client must learn many life skills such as adjusting attitudes and behavior in order to interact properly with the horse. The main value in working with horses is metaphoric learning. Clients overcome personal fears, frustrations, and develop self confidence in learning how to communicate with another living being. They can plainly see patterns of behavior that are affective and those that prove futile. Then they can transfer those skills to empower themselves to live a better life and maintain a healthy recovery. Both organizations are dedicated to bringing about meaningful and lasting change in improving the mental health of individuals and families.

Equus Outreach is pleased to join with Mission Unity in celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month in May.

VISIT:
http://www.equus-outreach.com
http://www.eagala.com
http://www.missionunity.com

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Kerrie Wilson

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