Thanks for stopping by! I hope to shed some light on how therapy with horses can be a really helpful way to treat trauma for kids. It isn't just "playing with horses" or a healing hobby for your child. It is real therapy and really effective! If you took a look at my blog post from last week you got a glimpse of how equine-assisted psychotherapy helped me grow personally. This blog post is for those wondering how this process can help your child who has gone through trauma.
Since my specialty is foster care and adoption, though I do work with other trauma as well, you might be a mama reading this who has a child in their home that you aren't sure if their struggles are related to adoption or "just being a kid." All children who have joined a family though adoption have been traumatized. Even if they were placed in your arms at the hospital. There is trauma that occurs in utero and at birth. Not only possible exposure to substances, but even those moms who have chosen adoption from the start have to undergo the stress of that decision which the baby takes in as well. Then factor in losing the only connection you have had for nine months with no way to process it verbally. Memories we have as a baby stay with us in our bodies. Pre-verbal trauma can often be harder to deal with because it had set up the way your brain and body work from there out with no way to explain it to yourself when you are triggered. On top of that early trauma, many of our children also come home to us with abuse and neglect. All trauma can deeply impact a child’s brain, body, behaviors, biology, and beliefs about themselves and the world.*
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar? A child who can go from happy to throwing chairs without any notice. A teen who can’t seem to make or keep friends. A child who seems to reject your love and makes it hard for you to like them most days. These are all impacts of trauma!
The Early Child Mental Health Consultation has laid out the trauma signs and symptoms for infants and young children really well in this article. Also see the image below for other signs that your child or teen is struggle with their trauma history.
Having a child in your home with any of these symptoms is extremely challenging. A parent needs all the help they can get! Equine-assisted psychotherapy may be just the thing your child needs to work through their history and replace trauma behaviors with connection. It is experiential so it will get to the body-stored trauma. Connecting with a horse can often be easier for a child with relationship trauma as well so there is often more engagement. Not to mention the horse can walk away when our kiddos are not regulated leaving them to realize how their behavior impacts others.
What would the benefits of treatment with horses look like for child and teen with trauma?
If you have any questions about your child and how Wholehearted Herd Counseling can help give me a call! 715-200-3838
Wholehearted Herd Counseling, LLC provides trauma therapy for children and teens and family therapy focused on attachment for adoptive and foster families with the help of horses. Wholehearted Herd Counseling, LLC is an equine-assisted therapy service in the central Wisconsin, Wausau, and Antigo areas.
Image “Impact of Childhood Trauma”: https://www.theedadvocate.org/the-impact-of-childhood-trauma/