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Equine assisted therapy is an experiential and solution oriented approach to therapy in which horses are utilized in the therapeutic process. Equine sessions are typically 60-90 minutes and assisted by a licensed mental health professional and equine specialist. Participants take part in activities with the horses and then process those experiences afterwards. Feelings, behaviors and patterns are discussed, allowing clients to express and review their experience while promoting emotional growth and learning. Equine assisted therapy can be applied to individual, couples, family and group therapy. Current literature on equine assisted therapy as a therapeutic intervention supports treating: behavioral issues, depression, anxiety, relationship problems, communication issues, ADD/ADHD, substance abuse, eating disorders, and abuse issues.
Horses are prey animals and are very attuned to their environments. Very much like humans, horses are social creatures with distinct personalities, attitudes and moods. Horses have their own defined role within their herd. They are sensitive to non-verbal behavior and therefore communicate, through body language, clear and direct messages. They are also large and powerful animals and while horses may be intimidating to some, they offer empowering opportunities to overcome fears and develop confidence. Because of their honest and immediate feedback – they are active facilitators for change – we can create a metaphorical space to learn about our relationships and role within our own family herd.
Some people prefer Equine Assisted Therapy over conventional therapy, as it offers a relaxed environment and may be less intimidating than a traditional therapeutic setting. Equine therapy takes place in natural surroundings and the focus is on the process of engaging with the horses, not simply on the “problem”.
Equine Assisted Therapy is facilitated by mental health professionals who apply their own clinical model to the equine therapy sessions. Although Equine Assisted Therapy has received much recognition in the last decade, it is generally considered atheoretical.
As a Family Therapist and in close collaboration with Dr. Shelley Green at Nova Southeastern University, I have been part of developing a model of Equine Assisted Therapy that is informed by the systemic and relational ideas of Family Therapy. Further, EAFT is grounded in a strength based and brief therapy approach, where clients process their experiences as the experts on their own lives. EAFT helps clients identify and utilize their own strengths and solutions. As an EAFT therapist, I serve as a process consultant and help clients connect with their own expertise while discovering new solutions. My focus is on exploring the context and relationships of my clients’ lives that are significant to them and helping guide them to find and create their own change.
If you are interested in an EAFT session for yourself, with your partner, and/or your children, please contact me for more information and pricing. All sessions are held in Davie, FL (Broward County).
As a relational and systemic therapist, I view organizational structures and businesses no different than I might a family system. They are both organized by human relationships and therefore run into similar challenges. The dynamics and interactions in a workplace setting, like in many family systems, are often difficult. Differences in personality, belief system, skill, intentions, and goals can make working relationships challenging at times, if not impossible. Successful collaboration and communication in such settings requires skilled, direct and tactful navigating of relationships to manage and sustain a healthy and thriving work environment. Managing various levels of operations, maintaining consistency with your mission and goals, and developing efficiency and productivity in your organization requires healthy working relationships among employees and partners.
As a workplace consultant, I help you identify key elements and destructive patterns that create and enable conflicting working relationships. Together, we pin point and move past unsuccessful solution attempts, discovering better means to cope with and manage intrapersonal relationships among members. We will work together individually and as a group, but always with the health of the organization as a whole in mind.
Contact me for more information and to schedule a complimentary initial consultation to find out if your organization can benefit from these services.
Let’s face it: gardening is good for the soul. To devote time in a garden - getting your hands dirty, literally - you put yourself in touch with nature and ultimately with yourself. Research shows that being outside while applying skills and playful activities that connect you to nature benefits children and adults spiritually, emotionally and psychologically. Such activity also helps reduce anxiety, depression, and stress.
As a therapist and enthusiastic gardener, I have personally experienced the positive effects gardening has to offer and how it relates to the work I do as a therapist. The connections and metaphors between therapy and gardening are vast, and it is not uncommon that I incorporate a “green challenge” with my therapy clients. It is because of this passion for the practice of gardening and growing that I have begun to form and explore therapeutic ideas and am in the process of developing a treatment plan to offer garden therapy as a stand-alone approach to therapy. Please ask me for more information if you are interested in garden therapy. More to come…
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Dr. Olivia Schläpfer Colmer offers individual, couples and family therapy in Miami, FL. Her office is located at 4770 Biscayne Boulevard, Suite 1440, Miami FL 33137.
Please visit our Motherless Daughters Support Group page for dates, times, and complete information.