In January, The Ranch treatment center in Tennessee launched equine-enriched therapy as part of its comprehensive treatment program for men struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental and emotional disorders. The program is housed in a newly renovated eight-bed residence on the beautiful Piney River, called River House.
The program features two equine-assisted therapy groups each week co-facilitated by a primary therapist and equine therapist, an additional equine group every other weekend, as well as opportunities for therapeutic and recreational riding. Therapists who work in the fascinating world of equine-assisted therapy have found that interacting with and caring for horses can provide valuable lessons in accountability, responsibility, communication and relationship-building — things that are often missing in the lives of people who have been derailed by drugs, alcohol, depression, loss and trauma.
“Every day I see clients who have a hard time relating to other people, but who are able connect with a horse and learn new ways of communicating and opening up,” reports Ben Cook, MA, a primary therapist at The Ranch. When clients arrive at The Ranch, they are assigned a horse to care for and to feed twice a day. Caring for and interacting with horses, Cook says, can offer unique lessons and insights about recovery.
The program was developed collaboratively with the clinical team, which includes the program’s equine therapist, Dede Beasley. Beasley is a master’s level clinician with more than three decades of experience in the field of equine-assisted therapy.
“Working with the horses helps our clients learn what it feels like to engage in selfless acts of service without an expectation of anything in return,” says Beasley. The process of working with horses can stir deeply buried emotions and reveal patterns in relationships and in communication.
“The horses can provide lessons in being direct and assertive and asking for what we want or need,” Beasley says.
In addition to equine-assisted therapy, the men’s program offers:
Two-hour group therapy sessions, four times a week
Weekly one-hour sessions with a primary therapy
Weekly one-hour sessions with a trauma therapist
Daily educational groups focused on trauma recovery, addiction recovery and spiritual development
Mindfulness/meditation groups several times each week
Multiple offsite meetings
Additional programming includes information and skills-building in nutrition, body image, fitness, wellness and 12-step principles, depending on the client’s needs.
River House is located on the site of the former Pinewood Plantation Mansion, and is adjacent to the barn that houses the horses used in therapy. The home features a new kitchen, new bathrooms and upgrades throughout. The treatment team at River House offers primary and extended care services for men suffering from emotional and mental health problems, including addiction, mood disorders and anxiety disorders.
About The Ranch Treatment Center
Established in 1999, The Ranch treatment center provides gender-separate therapeutic programs that address the underlying causes ...Read More
While body image issues and negative food attitudes are a major part of Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating, there is a deeper and darker side to these disorders. Statistics collected by Queendom.com through their Eating Disorders and Emotional Eating Test reveal that individuals dealing with eating disorders are often plagued by depression, anxiety, and other debilitating mental health problems. Researchers at Queendom.com urge sufferers to seek medical help as well as psychological counseling for a more well-rounded healing approach.
February 22 to 28 marks Eating Disorder Awareness Week, a campaign to bring attention to one of the most chronic mental health issues, and for good reason. Research by the Eating Disorders Coalition indicates that eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, with only 1 in 10 people seeking treatment.
Eating disorders are more than just a weight issue, however. After analyzing data from 465 people who have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, research by Queendom reveals that eating disorders are both a physical and psychological battle.
According to Queendom’s study:
45% of individuals diagnosed with an eating disorder have low self-confidence.
58% believe that they will never be loved unless they have a perfect body.
56% crave other people’s approval.
40% have a pessimistic outlook about their life and their future.
70% ruminate excessively and obsess about problems in their life.
56% find that their life is too stressful or difficult.
72% tend to have difficult overcoming failure.
Queendom’s study also indicates that eating disorder sufferers are more likely to experience symptoms of depression and/or anxiety, including:
Persistent feelings of emptiness (63%)
Loss of interest in activities that they used to enjoy (50%)
Tendency to cry for no apparent reason (52%)
Feelings of worthlessness (53%)
Feelings of sadness (60%)
Feeling like they have nothing to look forward to (47%)
Feeling like they are losing control (69%)
Tendency to focus on upsetting situations or events (63%)
Chronic worrying (73%)
Fear of what the future will bring (61%)
Edginess and tension (63%)
“When it comes to eating disorders, we need to treat more than the physical repercussions, like nutritional deficiencies and unhealthy body weight,” explains Dr. Jerabek, president of PsychTests, the company that runs Queendom.com. “It’s unclear as to whether depression and anxiety are precursors to eating disorders or vice versa. What is clear is that there is significant comorbidity between eating disorders and anxiety or depression-related disorders. And that is aside from the fact that 57% of the people in our eating disorder sample indicated that they have experienced physical, sexual, or some other form of abuse.”
“If we hope to help women and men who have eating disorders, we need to focus on both the physical side of the disorder as well as the underlying psychological factors. Otherwise, there is a significant risk of ...Read More