Some of the most frequently asked questions (and their answers!) to Equines for Freedom:
- Who does Equines For Freedom help?
We can help current and former U.S. service members, regardless of the source of trauma or their characterization of service, at no charge to the service member. We are currently looking towards expanding to include First Responders, depending on funding.
- What sets you apart from other PTSD therapy programs?
What makes us similar to other programs is EMDR. It has been recognized as one of the top 4 treatments for PTSD by the VA. That is where the similarity ends. We carry out our treatments at an arena that we lease from Marley’s Mission. This location is beautiful and private. It is not the traditional therapy setting with 2 chairs and a room. Our therapy consists of a veteran, therapist, horse and equine specialist. The horse is the other part of our program that truly sets us apart. PTSD is a time oriented disorder that takes the individual back to a traumatic event that they cannot get out of their mind. In the therapy, when they revisit that event, the horse helps to keep them in the present. They pick a horse at the beginning of this 8 step process and give that horse a name. The gives them an opportunity to disclose events and circumstances that they might not be comfortable talking to someone else about. Also, because horses are prey animals, they sense moods, anxiety, anger and many other emotions that can be emitted by the client. So, when the client isn’t being honest with the therapist or themselves, the horse has a way of letting them know they haven’t reached a solution yet.
Equines for Freedom is currently the only Equine Assisted EMDR available to veterans at NO CHARGE in the world.
- What is EA-EMDR?
EA-EMDR stands for Equine-Assisted Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. Very simply, it is a form of therapy that involves bilateral stimulation of your brain through eye movements (or more typically in our case tapping bilaterally on your back) to unlock “stuck” traumas that often cause flashbacks, nightmares or recurring negative thoughts. Positive thoughts are then installed in place of the negative thoughts, and the end result is the ability to remember a traumatic incident without the same emotional charge you may have been experiencing previously. This is all done under close supervision of a licensed therapist trained in EMDR. The equine specialist and horse are involved in this process in many ways, including observation, relaxation and building positive experiences.
- Will we be riding the horses?
No riding is involved. All of our sessions are done on the ground in an arena. Present for each session will be a licensed therapist, an equine specialist and a horse or horses.
- I can’t talk about what happened, can you still help me?
Yes! One of the best features of EA-EMDR is that it a form of therapy that does not require you to share specific details about what you are thinking about.
- How many sessions will I require?
The number of sessions will vary on a case by case basis. Safety and stabilization are key factors in the team deciding when each person is ready for the processing, or bilateral stimulation, phase of EA-EMDR, and some people may spend quite a bit of time in the preparation phase of this therapy, working on safety and stabilization to prepare for processing their traumas.