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Riversage Family Counseling
Specializing in treating complex issues with strength and compassion

Animal Assisted Therapy

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Riversage Family Counseling partnering with Horse Empower to provide Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.

Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is the partnership between a horse, horse-handler, psychotherapist and the client or clients. Horses are extremely intuitive animals and offer powerful information and healing while increasing one’s awareness. Often this therapeutic process is referred to as “magical” because of the shift the human-animal connection can make for individuals. Depending on the goals for individual(s) sessions will range from structured activities with horses to unstructured.

Our EAP sessions are often coupled with other therapeutic approaches including Cognitive and Dialectical Behavior approaches (DBT and CBT) as well as mindfulness.

In 2014 Patritia Pendry of Washington University, conducted a study finding that EAP reduces stress hormones in humans (Pendry, Smith, Roeter, 2014), while other research shows that oxytocin, the love hormone, is elicited during human-animal connection. This is therapeutically beneficial to clients as it simultaneously provides a healthy framework for healing to be done while processing uncomfortable feelings. Bessel Van Der Kolk, (2002, p. 388) supports the experiential healing process for survivors of trauma, as asserts that trauma is stored in the body.
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Benefits of EAP

  • Often a good fit when traditional talk therapy is no longer effective
  • Human-Animal Connection Helps calm the nervous system
  • Horses offer immediate and intuitive feedback in sessions which provides quicker results
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Areas EAP can help:

• Increase Social/ Relational skills
• Effective Emotion Regulation
• Low self-esteem/ Confidence building
• Behavior Modification Skills
• Substance abuse
• Domestic Violence
• Eating Disorders
• Grief and Loss
• Trauma
• Anxiety
• Depression
How do I know if EAP is a fit for what I am looking for?

You do not need any prior horse experience to participate in EAP sessions. A level of desire and comfort in engaging in EAP is required. A variety of factors will be taken into consideration when discussing appropriateness for EAP with your psychotherapist. For Riversage Psychotherapists offering EAP contact:

Lillian Ramey, LCSW - 970.749.4491, lillian@riversagecounseling.com, or
Emily Campbell, LCSW - 970.903.7979, ecampbell@riversagecounseling.com

For more information and resources on Equine Assisted Psychotherapy visit:



For More Information on Horse Empower visit: