The Jenna McKaye Foundation specifically helps victims of Human/Sex Trafficking.
Trauma can be defined in a few different ways and is not experienced just by military veterans. The dictionary defines it as “a deeply distressing or disturbing experience.” Other experts describe it as an “emotional response to a terrible event.” The DSM-5, the manual that describes different mental health diagnoses, says that trauma is directly experiencing, witnessing first-hand, repeated exposure to, or learning that a friend or family member has experienced “actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence.” A few examples of potentially traumatic experiences include sexual assault, childhood abuse, natural disasters, invasive medical treatments, and military combat experiences.
For trauma and PTSD, there are a few unique benefits to partnering with horses. Many trauma survivors can relate to the “fight or flight” mentality that horses have as prey animals. However, once a threat is removed, horses return to a calm state very quickly, something that clients with PTSD often have difficulty with. Working with such a large animal can help clients, particularly victims of abuse and assault, feel empowered. Research also suggests that being around animals such as horses decreased production of stress hormones and increased production of wellness hormones. This can help clients who feel ready to process trauma by helping them feel more comfortable while talking about upsetting experiences or to calm down more quickly if they are triggered.
Some of the other benefits that clients with trauma report include:
Recovering from trauma is not a quick or easy process. We understand that reaching out can be difficult and hope that we can be a safe place for healing. Equine assisted counseling offers many benefits that clients may not always experience in traditional counseling or that will enhance other trauma therapies.