Shannette Keeler, LCSW, PC and Danna Russell, LCSW make up the Equine Therapy Team. Shannette is an Advanced Certified EAGALA Equine Psychotherapist with over 30 years of clinical experience. Danna is a Master's level Social Worker and horse specialist and has worked for over seven years in the field, primarily with RTC's.
Equine therapy is a highly experiential therapeutic modality that involves hands-on work with horses. Clients participate in activities that include experiential tasks, real-life obstacles and natural consequences. The horse becomes the therapist— leading the participants on a metaphoric journey towards growth and change. Interacting with horses, allows each participant to receive powerful and immediate feedback on their behaviors and attitudes, as horses mirror everything that is happening in real-life. Participants will learn about themselves, their relationship with others, and the world at large. Because the outcome of the experience cannot be predicted, the participants may experience success, failure, adventure, risk-taking, and uncertainty. All participants will be actively engaged in their own therapeutic process at all levels, including, intellectually, emotionally, socially, spiritually, and physically.
Horses are used for this therapy because they are very similar to humans. They are social animals and have defined roles in their herd. They would rather be with peers than alone. They have distinct personalities, attitudes, and moods. What seems to work with one horse may not work with another. They love to have fun, but can also be stubborn and defiant. Because of this they provide vast opportunities for metaphorical learning. Processing through these metaphors allows the participants to work on their most challenging issues. This type of therapy cannot be found in any office setting.