Equine Assisted Psychotherapy

Horse Whisperer

Resilient Kids is proud to announce our new Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) program, a unique and groundbreaking model, used around the country as a dynamic, powerful tool in mental health therapy. Learn new life lessons, find healing from traumas, or develop new relationship skills, while enjoying the relaxed environment of horses. 

Through Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy, the focus is not horsemanship or horseback riding, but rather a safe place for the client and therapist to engage in activities with a horse or horses, and use the horse(s) to help process feelings, thoughts and reactions. Therapy goals combined with experiences with the horses allow the participant to explore, problem solve, and discover strengths while working with their therapist. 

Studies show that Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy has been helpful for clients in the following areas: assertiveness, emotional awareness, empathy, frustration/stress tolerance, flexibility, impulse control, problem-solving skills, self-actualization, independence, self-regard, social responsibility, interpersonal relationships, grief/loss, ADD/ADHD, anxiety/depression, and trauma.

Fees & Finances

What type of payment is accepted at Resilient Kids for EAP?


Resilient Kids accepts cash, check, FSA, and credit cards.




Will insurance cover equine therapy if I also see another therapist?


Yes. As long as you don’t see both therapists on the same day, insurance companies will cover equine therapy, as well as your traditional, office-based therapy. EAP can be an excellent adjunct therapy, and we work in close partnership with outside therapists to provide supportive, wrap-around care for our clients.




Do you accept insurance for EAP?


Our equine assisted psychotherapy model accepts Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, Amerihealth, and Highmark Health Options to cover psychotherapy services. There is an additional equine fee of $50 that is the responsibility of the client, and not covered by insurance. This fee will be charged to your online credit/debit card following each session.




What are the self-pay rates?


Our rates for equine asssisted are the same as in-office, with an additional equine fee. Typically, this fee is $50, however we are offering a $20 discount for our self-pay clients because this is not reinburseable by out-of-network benefits.

  • Individual EAP Initial Assessment: $205
    • $175 psychotherapy fee + $30 equine fee
  • Individual EAP Session: $180
    • $150 psychotherapy fee + $30 equine fee




What if you don't take my insurance?


Not to worry! Many clients are able to utilize their out-of-network benefits for counseling services and get reimbursed by their insurance company. It is a very simple process.

  1. Pay for your sessions directly. Please see "self-pay rates" below.
  2. We will provide you with a copy of a superbill which you can submit for possible reimbursement. This is for the psychotherapy fee only. The additional equine fee is NOT reinburseable by insurance.
  3. Submit superbill to your insurance provider.
  4. Depending upon the carrier, reimbursements are usually received between 2-3 weeks after submission.




Why do you charge an additional equine fee?


  • Horses are expensive. Our overhead costs to offer this service are extremely high: not only in hay and horse care, but facility upkeep, insurance and practice management with this unique kind of work as well. Of course it is worth every penny! But our overhead costs are much higher than a traditional office practice.
  • EAP requires specialized training for our clinicans that takes a full year to complete and is expensive in comparison to other therapy specialities.





General

Does Equine Assisted at Resilient Kids operate year-round? What happens during bad weather?


We have covered and indoor facilities, which enable us to work year-round, no matter what the weather. Obviously, we don’t work in severe or dangerous weather conditions, including bad thunderstorms. We may opt to postpone and reschedule your session in these circumstances. We will contact you the day before or the day of if we see something concerning enough to warrant cancellation.




What should I wear?


We recommend that you wear something that feels comfortable to you. As we are outside with horses, you can expect your clothes and shoes to get a little dirty! We strongly encourage you to refrain from wearing sandals, open-toed shoes, and steel-toed boots. We recommend boots and closed-toe shoes with a strong sole. Children under the age of 18 are required to wear appropriate footwear during interaction with horses. Helmets are not required, but are available upon request. Sessions might start out at one temperature, but become much cooler or warmer as they progress. We encourage you to bring water, sunscreen, and bug spray. Layers, hats, and gloves are strongly encouraged during the winter months.




What is Equine Assisted Psychotherapy?


Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is a form of animal assisted therapy that incorporates horses into the counseling process. This intervention is co-facilitated by a licensed counselor who is also an equine specialist.




Can I come visit the farm?


No, we are sorry! We do not allow visitors outside of their scheduled session time. Therapy is private, and is protected by HIPAA, a federal law ensuring privacy for medical clients. Observing a therapy session is strictly forbidden. The farm is private, and we protect the safety, privacy, and well-being of all of our clients and animals. If you’d like to meet us and check out the farm, and you have a mental health concern that you’d like to address, you can engage in therapy and meet us in a therapy intake session.




Where is the farm?


The farm is located in Middletown, DE approximately 10 minutes from our office location. Once approved for equine assisted psychotherapy, the address will be disclosed to you.




Do you have a therapeutic riding for people with disabilites?


We do not, but The Center For Therapeutic Riding in Townsend, DE does. www.thecenterfortherapeuticriding.com





Therapy Services

Do I need to have a professional referral for services?


No, anyone can email us to discuss if Equine Therapy is right for them. Click here to do so!




What documentation is required for a referral?


Referring agencies or mental health professionals are invited to provide Resilient Kids with proper release forms signed by the client so that important clinical information may be shared (such as assessments/evaluations, diagnosis, treatment goals, and progress notes). We also have a simple referral form with basic information for other professionals that they can complete and return to us to start the process. Parents can also refer their children. No formal referral is necessary to seek services!




What kind of client is appropriate for EAP?


At Resilient Kids, we offer two types of programs: EAP in general is effective for clients with mental health diagnoses and is appropriate for individuals, couples, and families. Each client participates in an intake by our mental health professionals prior to beginning treatment to determine whether EAP is an appropriate form of therapy for each specific situation. The therapist may deem EAP inappropriate for the following:

  • Clients with severe cognitive impairment
  • Children under the age of five
  • Clients with physical conditions that do not allow for safe interaction with horses
  • Clients with agoraphobia
  • Clients not taking their medication(s)
  • While we may work with those in recovery, people who are actively using drugs or are drunk/high are referred to rehabilitation programs. Likewise, we do not perform couples counseling when domestic violence is current; we recommend individual therapy for the safety of both parties. If you are uncertain whether EAP may an effective treatment for your situation, contact Resilient Kids to discuss your situation.




I am concerned about confidentiality. Will there be other people getting therapy at the same time as me?


You may see other clients in the parking lot prior to, or following, your session. This is a fully functioning farm, although most of the work is done before and after therapy sessions, just as you would at an office-based therapist. Privacy and confidentiality are part of our client agreement, and are expected from every client. You may see farm staff occasionally, but they are very aware of the sensitive and private nature of therapy, and are very respectful.




I have tried therapy and it didn’t work. Will EAP help me?


EAP is unlike any other kind therapy you will ever experience. It is science-based, effective and can be lots of fun. You will experience real-life, real-time feedback from the horse which cannot be replicated in an office setting. Therapy is a highly individualized experience, and you get out of it what you put into it. If EAP is a good fit for you, you will likely experience very positive healing.




Why Should I Do EAP Instead of a Regular In-Office Counseling Session?


Do you find it difficult to sit still or difficult to do a lot of homework from therapy? Have you found yourself stuck and unable to move past a difficult situation or circumstance? If so, EAP could be a good fit for you. In EAP you have the opportunity to actually practice the skills you are learning and involve your whole body, not just your thoughts, in a real life situation. It is experiential which can often get to the deeper core issues much faster that in turn allows you to see changes happen much quicker.




What is EAP and how does it work?


EAP works because you are up and moving; your whole body is engaged. This full body engagement provides in-the-moment practice of real life events and its experiential nature also allows for spontaneous self-exploration and healing. EAP provides individuals, families, and groups the opportunity to find lasting solutions. This type of active therapy allows learning to occur faster and can be felt immediately. The focus of EAP is not horsemanship but rather self-exploration, insight, skills building, and learning. Horses, being social animals, are natural communicators. Through relationship and structured activities in EAP, horse and human interact with and impact each other emotionally and behaviorally. The horse's honest emotional responses provide opportunities for immediate feedback and changes in maladaptive, problematic, or unwanted behavior and thinking patterns. Naturally intimidating to many, horses are large and powerful. This creates a natural opportunity to overcome fear and develop confidence. Working alongside a horse, in spite of those fears, provides wonderful insight when dealing with other intimidating and challenging situations in life. EAP does not throw out traditional talk-therapy methods, but combines several well-known techniques like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma Focused Therapy, Solution Oriented Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy; to name a few, with the unique gifts horses can offer you.




How long does treatment last?


Every case is unique and services are tailored to meet your individual needs. Some find that equine assisted services offer more insight than traditional talk-therapy models and therefore find the services beneficial in helping clients meet their goals at a faster rate. Please feel free to contact us for additional information or to schedule an intake.




How long is each session?


Each session is 60 minutes.




What goes on in an EAP session?


Clients are invited by the EAP team to engage with the horses in tasks (guiding a horse through an obstacle course, for example). But like life, EAP sessions are unpredictable. Your personality and mood will mix with the personality and mood of the horse(s) and the assigned activity to create a unique experience; one that will inevitably stir up feelings, fears, and relationship dynamics – positive and negative – that are at play in your life. Our horse-therapists are very keen at giving clients what it is they seem to need.




I have a current therapist. Can I still see them, and have EAP sessions?


Yes, of course! We can collaborate with your current therapist to incorporate their goals into our EAP sessions.





Horses

I am afraid of horses. Can I still benefit from this type of therapy?


Absolutely! Working within Resilient Kid's supportive environment, it is your fear that may prove especially effective in breaking through old patterns and revealing important insights. No prior knowledge of horses and/or horsemanship is necessary, by the way.




I'm very familiar with horses already. Will I get anything out of this?


Absolutely. You may already be "ahead of the curve" a bit about what kind of feedback horses can offer, yet you might also find that our horses respond differently than your horse(s) or than other horses you are used to interacting with. We interact with horses in a very different manner than traditional farms and horse barns, and look forward to showing you horses through a new lens.




Will I get to ride the horses?


There is no riding in equine assisted therapy - all work with horses is done on the ground. We believe that working with horses on the ground is not only safer for you, but also enables you to form a more authentic relationship with your horse without the interference of bridles and saddles.




Can I give the horses treats?


Please do not give our horses treats. Only staff is allowed to feed our horses, however, you may bring carrots or apples to give to your therapist, to feed the horses later when it is their time to eat!




What do the horses do in sessions?


During most sessions the horses are “at liberty.” This means that the horses are left loose in the arena or pasture to allow them to simply be themselves. This allows horses the opportunity to engage or disengage in session as they please and offers the most genuine experience for connection as they interact with clients and other horses in the space.




Why do we love utilizing horses in therapy?


Horses are...

  • Sensitive: They read our emotional states, sense our heartbeats, feel our energy levels and then relate to us accordingly.
  • Social. They want to know who is the leader, they want safety, and they want relationship. This gives us endless opportunities to practice our skills of providing these things, with instant feedback and rewarding relationships.
  • Live in the present. They respond to what we do now, not what we did in the past or may do in the future. They give us opportunities to change and to practice new behaviors.
  • Honest and big. We can’t manipulate horses with our words. They do not lie to us, and we cannot lie to them. They give us honest feedback that we can apply to our lives.