The Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) model of equine therapy is renowned for its structure, code of ethics, adaptability, and proven success. It focuses on a team approach between the horse, the equine specialist, and the mental health professional to create opportunities for the clients to work through challenges and figure out solutions for themselves. The goal of this approach is to help the client realize that he or she has the ability within to solve problems and overcome obstacles.
An eating disorder is the consistently unhealthy relation to ingesting food, either eating too much, followed by purging (via vomiting, excessive exercise, laxatives, dieting, etc.) or anorexia (or self-starvation), where the sufferer has a motivating irrational impression that they weigh more than others can see. Similar to drug addiction, the first step in Eating Disorder treatment is controlling the immediate environment - getting compliance behavior around a healthy weight, containment from purging behaviors, CBT and group therapy to help reduce discomfort and gain support, and nutritional counseling. Long-term maintenance for more severe sufferers is available with 12 Step models and other group support.
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An educational therapist recognizes a child's current learning challenge, understands the coping mechanisms that previously “worked” to mask the learning challenge, and then helps build the child’s confidence and competence from the point where true learning stopped and masking began.
This professional diagnosis of a learning disability helps reframe behaviors that are often mischaracterized as the child’s opposition or distractedness.http://childmind.org/article/what-is-an-educational-therapist
In the last decade, interest around and research into the client-horse bond and using horses to develop self-sufficiency, self-confidence and overall feelings of well-being have been prolific. In a 2005 article called “New age or old sage? A review of equine-assisted psychotherapy”, Karen Frewin and Brent Gardiner pointed out that because horses are prey animals and therefore remain alert to potential threats, they are sensitive to incongruence between overt and emotional messages from their human counterparts; because they are both herd animals and very large, horses are quite responsive to physical touch, voice volume and tone, and these animals provide a wonderful mirror for experienced therapists to utilize.
Executive Functioning is the constellation of higher-order processes that allow adults to consider the “Big Picture” and strategize, and delay gratification; in general, it is the ability of the brain to plan, organize, remember, manage time and remain flexible, when necessary. Many sufferers of emotional or learning disabilities do not have this combination of functions, but good interventions help accommodate and improve for deficits as well as improve the fundamentals. With ... neuroimaging and other technologies, we now know that the last major growth spurt of the brain, fully wiring the critical prefrontal cortex, takes place around the ages 19 to 25. This frontal lobe development makes possible the kind of thoughtful reflection that is a hallmark of adulthood, in contrast to [normal] adolescent impulsivity and reactivity.” Deficits in executive function are hallmarks of learning disabilities, mood disorders, autism spectrum, and can be argued as a cause for some “complicated launching” (Sophia K. Havasy, Ph.D, “Brain Development and Executive Functioning”)
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Exposure Response Prevention Therapy (ERP) is one of the typical methods of therapeutically and systematically “habituating” patients who suffer from OCD, as traditional talk therapy has not been shown to be effective. The ERP strategy requires the patient to tolerate small amounts of stressor, and to reduce the power of a recurrent and emotional compulsion through staged reduction; in essence, ERP retrains the client’s brain through desensitization that the neurochemical signals that presently translate to full panic instead mean there might be danger, and eventually that the trigger may have no significant meaning for the client at all.
Expressive Arts include the many models of therapy that focus on the act of creating, rather than the end product. This includes acting, imagination, dance / movement; “alongside talk therapy, or in some cases, exclusive to talk therapy, clients are encouraged to explore their responses, reactions, and insights via pictures, sounds, explorations, and encounters with art processes.” (Good Therapy.org)
This fascinating and powerful therapy was discovered by Francine Shapiro, Ph.D in 1987, following her own realization that moving her eyes back and forth gave her stress-reduction. EMDR developed as a tested, reliable treatment that relies on aural, visual and/or kinesthetic bilateral stimulation during talk therapy, which helps the patient discuss trauma and emotional content but prevents the brain from over stimulating. Shapiro calls this process “adaptive information processing”.