This guest post is written by Amy Dick who is a volunteer at Rock Creek Park Horse Center. Tucked into the woods of Rock Creek Park is Rock Creek Park Horse Center, located at 5100 Glover Road, NW.
Rock Creek Park Horse Center offers therapeutic sessions with horses for people of all ages, including children. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is an experiential approach to psychotherapy with horses. “Experiential” means that the client has hands-on experiences with horses, assisted by facilitators. Therapeutic sessions with horses help individuals and groups safely explore solutions to manage stress, depression, anxiety, PTSD, interpersonal conflict, and more.
All sessions are on the ground – there is no horseback riding. Our facilitators are certified by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA), the global standard for equine-assisted psychotherapy and personal development.
What makes horses good partners in therapy? Most people love animals, especially beautiful ones like horses. But the primary reason is due to horses’ nature. They are social, herd, and prey animals with an extraordinary ability to interpret nonverbal communication. Horses pick up on and respond to people’s unconscious signals and emotions. Horses’ behavior and responses often remind people of the characters and issues in their lives. Through interactions with the horses, EAGALA equine therapy empowers clients to explore, problem-solve, discover, be creative, and gain valuable insights.
Horses do not know our past, education, gender, race or other labels we may apply to ourselves and each other. They live in the moment. Unlike humans, they have no biases. These qualities also make horses valuable therapeutic partners with helping people seeking insight, perspective, and solutions to their personal challenges.
Want to learn more about EAGALA therapy? A brief, excellent video summary can be found here.
EAGALA contacts at Rock Creek Park Horse Center are:
Amber Power, Equine Specialist (301) 908-0767
Ilse Eisele, Mental Health Specialist (434) 533-5545
You can also send an email.