Equine Facilitated Mental Health Services for Children
Team Velvet, Inc. is a New Jersey non-for-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing proven and effective psychological counseling for children with trauma, often at little or no cost to the family. Our program is funded through grants, donations and possibly health insurance and fully staffed by our director and founder, Dr. Susan Edwards, Psychologist and PhD, and our tireless group of volunteers.
What is Horse Therapy?
Non-mounted equine facilitated mental health is a form of interactive psychotherapy designed to increase the resiliency of children in overcoming trauma or adjustment difficulties. It may involve a psychologist, child, parent, and/or horse handler at any given time working with a therapy horse to facilitate the child’s clinical learning.
As therapy partners, horses offer a special combination of resources. Intelligence, physical power and keen emotional intuitiveness are some of the attributes that make a horse a good helper. While horses have been helping physically handicapped individuals for years, most applications in mental health have been within the past twenty years. Today, equine facilitated therapy is one of the fastest growing areas of mental health in the world.
Children don’t ride these therapy horses. They interact with them under the supervision of the lead psychologist who designs the treatment program for each child. The interaction is face-to-face and communication-focused rather than riding skill focused. As such, it offers a special perspective for the child to grow in clinical understanding.
How does it work?
An initial assessment is conducted by Dr. Edwards to determine the fit between the child’s need and the program. Horse therapy can supplement traditional forms of therapy or can stand alone under the supervision of the treating psychologist. Therapy goals are determined, the therapy process takes place in the round pen, stable or arena area and may be assisted by a clinical horse handler working with the psychologist. Treatment activities differ based on the child’s therapeutic goals and are structured in a multi-modal horse therapy format.
Who is the focus of this horse therapy?
Children and adolescents who have experienced trauma, adjustment issues, difficulty adapting to their own giftedness and/or grief & loss.
What are examples of other services we provide?
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Horse Soccer Demonstrations
Fundraisers and Special Events