For the past few years, The Mane Intent has supported service users of the Court Support Program of the Canadian Mental Health Association of Haliburton, Kawartha and Pine Ridge. To date, The Mane Intent has hosted more than 10 – 5-week equine-assisted psychotherapy groups as part of this program.
The Court Support Program assists individuals experiencing mental health and addiction concerns who become involved in the criminal justice system. Working in collaboration with clients, court officials and other community agencies like The Mane Intent, justice staff assist to develop diversion and community support plans for individuals to help address the mental health or addiction concerns and prevent further involvement with the justice system.
Ultimately the intent of our equine-assisted psychotherapy program is to reduce recidivism. As well, the program is intended to support the development of greater self-awareness both in terms of relationship with self and relationship with others, while also supporting more informed and healthier decision-making.
Program objectives include:
1) Provide psychoeducation related to the emotional and physical impact of trauma. Gaining this knowledge may help clients be more aware of their flight/fight/free/appease response to threat/stress and how these responses impact our behaviour.
2) Build trust, increase empathy and compassion for self and others by engaging in relationship with horses to develop non-judgemental bonds that invite enhanced social and emotional intelligence.
3) Increase personal awareness of healthy boundaries by working in relationship with horses.
4) Increase and improve interpersonal communication through greater awareness of body language for more effective interpersonal relationships.
5) Use grounding and somatic experiencing to increase awareness of impulsive behaviour and develop greater coping skills.
6) Increase overall resilience and distress tolerance with grounding and other DBT-based skills.
Here are some of the learnings shared by both men and women who participated in this year’s offering:
“I found that it’s okay to say no and to mean it even if it’s something outside of my comfort zone.”
“I learned to be more calmer and inviting rather than closed off and alone.”
“I would like to remember to be more assertive and positive and more inviting to new people versus less nervous.”
“This will be something I remember for my life time.”
“I learned that I actually can be assertive when I need to be. I will start setting boundaries and try to be more assertive.”
“I am capable of more than I give myself credit for.”
“We all need a little push, sometimes to get us started.”
“I’m more outgoing than I think and capable of so much more.”
If you have a group that may benefit from equine-assisted psychotherapy or would like more information, please call us at 416-347-3235.