Foundations’ Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy

February 28, 2020

Foundations Health & Wholeness and Exceptional Equestrians are excited to announce a new partnership to support children and adults in equine-assisted psychotherapy (EAP). This unique program has the ability to provide wholeness, connection, and peace for so many children and adults in our community.

Exceptional Equestrians already is transforming lives through their progressive equine-assisted therapies such as hippotherapy (occupational and physical), adaptive riding, and equine-assisted learning. Foundations already provides children, adults, and families integrated mental health and addiction counseling that heals mind and spirit. With this collaboration, horses have the opportunity to help heal the human spirit.

“Working with Exceptional Equestrians is a unique and exciting opportunity to provide therapy without walls, and together help our neighbors heal,” said Julie Feld, Director of Counseling at Foundations Health & Wholeness. “We serve men and women struggling with mental illness and addiction, and children enduring trauma, both in and out of the foster care system. To solve these problems, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to mental health therapy. Horses can be our 1,000-pound therapy assistants, and help humans in a number of ways, including with confidence, trust and empathy, emotional awareness, impulse control, social skills, and connection.”

According to Lisa Kafka, Executive Director of Exceptional Equestrians: “We have seen an increase in referrals for children and adults who have experienced trauma, are dealing with a mental health issue, or have not responded well to more traditional treatment methods. For our participants struggling with a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, occupational therapy uses a sensory processing and integration approach to assist participants in achieving mindfulness concerning their body systems and interaction within their environment. At Exceptional Equestrians, incorporating the horse into treatment offers an experiential approach in a safe and supportive environment, and offers our clients opportunities for personal growth and healing. Collaboration with Foundations provides additional resources to both our staff and clients from individuals trained in mental health care. Together we can offer more comprehensive services and mutual professional support.”

As a critical part of this new collaboration, the organizations received generous grants from the Cornerstone Foundation of Northeastern Wisconsin and the K.C. Stock Foundation totaling over $46,000 to support training for key team members and launching therapeutic interventions with clients. “As innovative nonprofits dedicated to serving others, both Foundations Health & Wholeness and Exceptional Equestrians have the solid leadership, collaborative spirit, and capacity to create equine-assisted therapy that transforms lives, families, and our community,” said Sheri Prosser of the Cornerstone and K.C. Stock Foundations. “Both Cornerstone and K.C. Stock are proud to help launch this innovative opportunity.”

To help launch the program, the organizations are spending time training with each other, after which they will work with clients on a referral basis. Stay tuned for information on how to be referred to this program.