Equine-assisted psychotherapy for Bergen County and Rockland County with Wendy Coffey, MSW, LCSW.
Specializing in addiction, anxiety, depression, grief + loss, eating disorders + disordered eating, negative body image, and trauma.
Experiential learning is learning by doing. It is the way humans learn best. Equine-assisted psychotherapy incorporates horses experientially for emotional growth and learning. It is a ground-based collaborative effort between a licensed therapist and a horse professional working with clients and horses to address treatment goals.
Horses are honest teachers with personalities as varied as those of humans, and therefore, they react differently to each person and each action. Horses have a unique sensitivity to human feelings. They tend to mirror our emotions and body language. We can learn about ourselves through them.
Studies have shown that animal-assisted therapy reduces cortisol, the stress hormone. Being present with the horses can encourage a person to be alive in the present moment. The horses realize that is the only moment we have.
Ben walked into the space with the horses wanting to be able to control his anger. He felt it coming on without warning, and he was looking for help. He was presented with one of the miniature horses and given the opportunity to move this horse from one space to another without force.
Ben’s level of frustration increased as the horse refused to do what Ben wanted him to do. After some questioning, Ben realized that he felt the anger building in his body. He was able to identify the anger and take a deep breath. He then tried a different, calm, and patient approach with the horse. The horse accepted this version of Ben and easily moved where Ben had asked.
Ben left the session understanding his anger, where it originates, and how to breathe into it and let it go. This happened in one meeting with the horses. The physical and the mental coming together is experiential learning, and it is powerful.
Some of the benefits of equine-assisted psychotherapy are:
◐ Reduces stress
◓ Encourages presence and feelings of being alive
◑ Helps to understand felt emotion, where it originates from, how to breathe into it, and let it go
Body Positive Works is offering equine-assisted psychotherapy as part of the treatment options available. This modality will benefit people with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and disordered eating, as well as with their personal growth.
Horses help individuals create boundaries and increase self-awareness, which, in turn, aids in developing relationships with people. Being outside and experiencing nature while developing inner growth is a welcome gift.
We offer individual, family, and group equine-assisted psychotherapy for ages 12 to adult.
To book an appointment call 201-708-8448.
We work with people managing issues including: anxiety, depression, impulse control, interpersonal relationship issues, life transitions, family dynamics, self-acceptance, and teamwork.
Wendy Coffey is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of New Jersey and has been practicing since 1991. She spent the beginning of her career working with children and adolescents in treatment foster care as well as with adolescent girls living in a group home setting. She has also worked at the county level in a crisis intervention unit providing therapy to families in times of stress. Having been trained in crisis intervention, she is familiar with family dynamics and how these dynamics affect the individual. She will use the modality that is most appropriate for the client, whether that be CBT, family therapy, Humanistic therapy or a combination of therapies. Therapy is an art that is tailored to the individual. Through conversation the best approach will present itself. Wendy has worked with adults, adolescents, children and couples who present with anxiety, depression, grief and time-of-life stressors. Wendy believes in a holistic approach to treatment, which includes the integration of environment, body and mind. Admiration of horses has been part of her being since she was a child. Horses are able to heal people just by being themselves, connected to the present moment. Wendy is currently including equine therapy as part of her treatment approach. When clients work with the horses they learn about themselves.This can lead to breakthroughs in therapy.
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