All Kinds of News for May 08, 2019
Solstice West RTC, a leading residential treatment center for young women ages 14-18 located in Layton, Utah, is celebrating the growth of their equine-assisted therapy program. Solstice uses equine therapy as a powerful experiential therapeutic approach that allows students to evaluate and develop healthy skills for communication and relationships.
Equine-Assisted Therapy is a mode of treatment that utilizes horses, equine activities, and equine environments as a means of healing, teaching, and creating personal growth for teens struggling with mental and emotional health. Horses have a healing presence that creates an environment of safety and comfort for the individual in treatment. This therapeutic approach has been shown to increase personal responsibility and patience in the students as well as improved communication skills and relationship building.
Solstice West’s equine-assisted therapy director and primary therapist, Eliza Hitz, M.Ed, LPC, MS, CMHC, EAP, facilitates the four weekly equine groups which include: beginner, where all students start, then intermediate, where students can progress into, and finally an advanced group that is more unstructured and incorporates dynamic work often with herds and younger, less trained horses. The central model used in groups is focused on relationship logic which helps the clinical process and equine experience. Relationship-focused equine therapy is an experiential process that allows for practice and integration of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) skills such as self-awareness, mindfulness, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
One of the main reasons equine-assisted therapy is effective is because horses naturally mirror, react, and respond to verbal and non-verbal communication expressed by the individual working with them. This mirroring response illustrates to the students the direct impact of their behavior, expressions and feelings can have on the people around them.
Additionally, equine therapy director Eliza Hitz also works directly with students to facilitate rhythmic riding sessions. Rhythmic riding is when students are riding on a horse, bareback or mounted, to music that they have selected, which is often favorite songs of theirs or songs that bring back memories. Staff also often select songs with steady rhythm - both faster and slower. This allows the horse to enter into the music, so the student and horse are riding to dance together and find rhythm. Neuroscience research has shown that rhythmic bi-lateral stimulation is immensely helpful in regulating emotions and the mind. In the experience, students are learning to enter into this experience that is both powerful and grounding, and helps build an emotional connection and relationship with the horse.
Finally, Eliza helps organize and run new parent workshops. These seminars revolve around relationship logic and experiential work at the barn. Families participate in three hours at the barn as part of the family seminar experience, using the relationship model and engaging in activities such as ‘press and release’ exercises and mirroring.
The Solstice West equine-assisted therapy program has a continued vision for growth, as Equine Therapy Director Eliza explains their plans for the future, "I am excited to continue to build the equine program and incorporate more service and community roles, where the residents participate in community service at the barn. We want to invite underserved community populations to the barn to give them the chance to participate in equine therapy and our residents would be able to share with the community what they know about working with the horses.”
About Solstice RTC
Solstice RTC is a residential treatment center for teen girls that has helped hundreds of struggling teens on their journey to solving issues like trauma, depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. Solstice RTC, located in Layton, Utah, offers a specialized, clinically intensive program based on the specific needs of young women. At Solstice RTC, young women discover their full potential. For additional information on Solstice RTC, please visit http://solsticertc.com or call 801-444-0794.