Spirit Reins' Therapy Services include:
- Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy
- Equine Assisted EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
- Play Therapy
- Sensory and Motor Psychotherapy
- Nature Therapy
Spirit Reins currently has collaborations with:
- The Center for Child Protection
- Communities in Schools
- The Children's Partnership
- The Travis County Juvenile Probation Department
- The CPS Re-integration Department
- Travis County Integral Care
Based on the Natural Lifemanship model of equine assisted psychotherapy created by Tim Jobe and Bettina Schultz-Jobe, Spirit Reins’ services are a trauma-informed therapeutic approach to counseling. Trauma-informed is the term given to a new body of research that suggests that the negative effects of early childhood trauma (abuse, neglect, accidents, witnessing violence, and even certain medical conditions and procedures) disrupts the brain’s normal development to the point that the ability to learn and to form healthy relationships is severely compromised.
Services include individual, family, and group sessions that promote healing, emotion regulation, impulse control, and relationship skills such as building trust, reciprocity, and taking responsibility. The types of activities that contribute to these outcomes take place both on the ground and on the back of a horse. On the ground, clients work to build a relationship with their horse, a process through which they come to understand sound relationship principles and their individual roles in creating the quality of relationships they experience or desire in their lives.
Employing a progressive, trauma-informed therapeutic approach that is sensitive to the sequential development of a child’s brain systems, therapy can start with Rhythmic Riding, a process that utilizes horseback riding and music to provide rhythmic, patterned and repetitive movements to help the brainstem neural systems become more organized and regulated. A calmer, less frightened child is then able to truly participate in and benefit from the equine assisted psychotherapy activities that take place on the ground that focus on helping these children develop healthy relationships.
Once emotional stabilization has occurred through Rhythmic Riding, clients will be ready to benefit from groundwork with a horse with which they would like to build a relationship. These activities focus on higher, more complex parts of the brain and rely on talk and reflection to achieve specific therapeutic goals. In order to be successful at building a relationship with a horse, clients must learn to respond appropriately to horse behavior by monitoring and modulating his or her own emotional reactions and behavior. Every principle that pertains to successfully building a relationship with a horse applies equally well to building relationships with other human beings. Clients are taught to become partners with their horses rather than dominators of their horses. It is especially important for maltreated children to learn that it is not fear and intimidation that defines healthy relationships, but rather cooperation and trust.
Clients have individual therapeutic goals that drive the treatment plans and the evaluation of treatment effectiveness. By participating in services at Spirit Reins, traumatized children will experience measurable improvements in their ability to regulate emotion, control impulsive behavior, engage in goal-directed behavior, and form and maintain healthy social relationships. In order to monitor effectiveness, Spirit Reins will collect data systematically throughout the duration of each client’s therapeutic program. Data sources include standardized psychological instruments, biofeedback tools, observation tools, and other records completed by therapists, teachers and counselors, parents, and the client themselves.