EQUINE ASSISTED PSYCHOTHERAPY

AND LEARNING ACTIVITIES

PRICES: Cost varies from $200.00 for an individual 1 hour session

to $1,500.00 for an all day group of 10-12 people with additional facilitators.

For more information and to schedule an appointment please contact Valerie Stern, LCSW 

Office: (323) 661-3090

Cell: (310) 936-0930 
Email: Valerie@SpecialSpirit.org

At Special Spirit, you will be engaged in on-the-ground, interactive and experiential equine activities to help you:

  • Grow your self-confidence

  • Develop stronger boundaries (Learn how to say no and mean it!)

  • Increase your communication efficiency

  • Uncover unproductive patterns

  • Build trust in yourself and others

  • Become a better leader

  • Become a team player

  • Highlight your strengths

  • Overcome challenges and fears

  • Increase your problem solving skills

  • Build empathy toward others

  • Improve your social skills

  • Respect yourself and others

  • Take action


Special Spirit Equine Assisted Programs are not about horsemanship skills or riding skills.  They are about experiencing a unique and authentic partnership, challenging yourself to honestly assess your life, finding your strengths and problem solving your struggles.   

No prior horse experience is necessary.

WHAT IS EQUINE ASSISTED LEARNING ACTIVITES?

Equine Assisted Learning partners horses and humans in specifically designed ground activities to foster emotional growth and personal development. EAL provides a unique experiential learning environment to develop and enhance life skills.  Participants learn about themselves while participating in specifically designed activities with horses that require the application of certain skills, such as problem solving, assertiveness, and relationship skills. EAL emphasizes the impact of non-verbal communication by using the relationship between humans and horses. Horses are prey animals and due to their natural instincts, they respond honestly to how a person presents himself, both physically and emotionally, and provide immediate feedback. They react to the environment and energy through non-verbal communication, creating an opportunity for us to understand what we are actually communicating, instead of what we think we’re communicating. Horses are very effective in creating a rich learning environment.  Their heightened sensitivity, instant feedback and ability to mirror our emotions create opportunities to increase our awareness, congruency and effective use of non-verbal skills. Another reason that horses are used in EAL is that their mere presence, size and power make us aware and can bring an array of emotions to the surface, oftentimes creating an opportunity for individuals to overcome fear and process frustration.  Completing a task despite these fears and emotions builds confidence and provides metaphors for working with other challenging and intimidating situations.  Horses are social animals and, like humans, have distinct personalities, moods and behaviors. The activities are designed to provide opportunities for the participants to explore how they move through life, how they react and respond to challenges and how they are perceived by others.  Horses are non-judgmental and don’t lie.  If a participant is not congruent with her feelings and actions, the horse will call her out, seeing below the surface presentation and reacting to her authentic emotions.  Participants process their feelings in the moment with facilitators while doing the activity, and will take the experience home to reflect on their patterns of behavior and new skills learned. The horses frequently teach us that when we change our approach we can achieve a different outcome.  EAL is facilitated by a certified equine specialist and a licensed clinical therapist. EAL has been proven effective in developing and enhancing life skills, such as assertiveness, boundary recognition, communication, confidence, creative thinking, problem solving and effective social interaction.

ADDITIONAL INFO

DOWNLOAD OUR BROCHURE.

For a more detailed brochure about our Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning programs, click below: 

INDIVIDUAL SESSIONS

Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy is considered a short-term modality and can be used in conjunction regular therapy.  You will meet with our clinician who will assist you in establishing your treatment goals.  If you are currently in therapy, our clinician will be more than happy to collaborate with your regular therapist in order to establish a congruent treatment plan to build on skills you have been working on or address particularly difficult challenges.

Following the first interview, our team will design a treatment plan which will include equine activities specifically tailored to meet your needs.  Each session is 75 minutes long.

Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy can help you:

  • Build confidence

  • Build trust

  • Face your fears

  • Learn how to say no

  • Change unproductive patterns

  • Develop new coping skills


Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy addresses a variety of mental health and human development needs, including behavioral issues, ADHD, substance abuse, eating disorders, abuse, trauma, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, anger management and communication challenges.

Scheduling is flexible according to client needs and team availability.

GROUP SESSIONS

Our group sessions consist of 8 weekly 90-minute sessions of equine experiential activities where participants have the opportunity to develop a bond with each other and their equine partners, provide feedback and support to one another, exchange ideas, and grow in a safe, challenging and non-judgmental environment.

COUPLES SESSIONS

Equine Assisted Therapy can help couples address a variety of dysfunctional behaviors and communication problems.

The couple will meet with our clinical team to discuss difficulties of current concern or areas the couple would like to work on.  Equine Assisted Therapy can assist couples in:

  • Improving your communication

  • Developing empathy towards one another

  • Increasing your intimacy

  • Pinpointing ineffective parenting skills

  • Highlighting a couple's strengths

  • Reminding you of the reasons why you are together

  • Bringing fun and excitement to your relationship


Sessions last between 75 and 90 minutes.
Scheduling is flexible according to client needs and team availability.

FAMILY SESSIONS

In today's world, many families endure stress from factors like financial difficulties, time pressures, workplace issues, or conflicts arising from social media, sexual dynamics, the internet, drug abuse, and schoolwork, to name just a few.

Dysfunctional family dynamics can be explored safely and enjoyably through Equine Assisted Therapy.

Equine Assisted Therapy can assist a family with:

  • Having fun together

  • Improving their communication

  • Pointing our their strengths

  • Developing empathy

  • Encouraging team work and collaboration among family members

  • Highlighting inefficient discipline techniques


Sessions last between 75 and 90 minutes.
Scheduling is flexible according to client needs and team availability.