EQUINE THERAPY PROGRAM TARGETS ESSENTIAL WORKERS’ MENTAL HEALTH
Rebels Farm has launched Heroes Without Capes, a transformative equine assisted therapy program in Ramona, specifically targeting the mental health challenges of trauma, grief and loss the Coronavirus pandemic has inflicted upon essential workers.
Frustrated with the scarcity of mental health for healthcare workers and first responders even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rachel Brodsky, the founder of Rebels Farm and Dina Seerden, LCSW, developed a unique wellness-focused program using horses as the primary path to healing.
With Rachel’s background in equine psychology and Dina’s experience as a clinical social worker, the pair spent months putting together an emotionally transformative, and physically restorative, program designed to address mind-numbing daily crises faced by first responders, healthcare workers, teachers, and social service providers. When the COVID pandemic hit, the program was put on pause, then redesigned to address the unique needs of essential workers.
Rachel says, “Being married to a medical student, I am well aware of the daily challenges he faces; challenges that often put his own well-being at risk. Even before the pandemic I was working to develop alternative treatment options for ‘helping professionals.’ Since March I’ve watched my friends, husband and other family members struggle to make sense of the world we now live in. I was determined to provide a unique experience that addresses the loss, grief, and anxiety we are all experiencing.
“I realized the program Dina and I were developing for helping professionals could be tweaked to include anyone in the community who makes the difficult daily decision to provide for themselves and their family over their own health. By addressing their needs, we give our community the compassion and acknowledgement they deserve for continuing to show up day in and day out. And we give them the tools to keep going.
“We are here to support those who support us. We want all essential COVID workers to have access to our program, regardless of their ability to pay. Our groups are our way to give back.”
The 90-minute Heroes Without Capes program is designed to support anyone whose livelihood has been directly affected by the novel Coronavirus. Groups are slated to begin Saturday, November 7th at Rebels Farm in Ramona, CA. Participants will be required to wear a mask at all times and hand washing stations have been installed to ensure the health and welfare of all participants. Rebels Farm offers a sliding-scale fee for this program and scholarships are available.
Rebels Farm is a 501(3) (c) organization. They use holistic activities, nature, and animal-assisted healing, to address mental health and personal development needs in our community. They serve a diverse population including those struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD, sexual trauma, homelessness, and previous incarceration.
For more information on Rebels Farm, please visit www.rebelsfarm.org or visit all major social media sites @rebelsfarm.
For further reading on Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning:
Barker, S.B. (1999). Therapeutic Aspects of the Human-Companion Animal Interaction. Psychiatric Times, 16.
Ewing, C.A., MacDonald, P.M., Taylor, M., Bowers M.J. (2007). Equine-facilitated learning for youths with
several emotional disorders: A quantitative and qualitative study. Child Youth Care Forum, 36, 59-72.
Klontz, B.T., Bivens, A., Leinart, D., Klontz, T. (2007). The effectiveness of equine-assisted experiential
therapy: Results of an open clinical trial. Society and Animals, 15, 257-267.
McCormick A., & McCormick M. (1997). Horse Sense and the Human Heart: What Horses Can Teach Us About Trust, Bonding, Creativity and Spirituality. Deerfield Beach, Florida: Health Communications, Inc.
Schultz, P.N., Remick-Barlow, A.G., Robbins, L. (2007). Equine-assisted psychotherapy: A mental health
promotion/intervention modality for children who have experienced intra-family violence.
Health and Social Care in the Community, 15, 265-271.