HAT for Veterans and PTSD
Why is PTSD having an effect on my life?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health
disorder where you have difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing
a terrifying event. Commonly, you may
experience anxiety or “flashbacks” when certain experiences in everyday life
remind you of the traumatic event. You
may have racing thoughts or uncontrollable memories about the event that you
can’t stop or cause nightmares or severe anxiety. Insomnia, low self-esteem, and a lot of
painful or unpleasant emotions might occur as you continuously relive the
event. Veterans that have been in combat situations are likely to experience
traumatic events and so may have PTSD symptoms.
Unfortunately, PTSD is not limited to combat veterans, however, and
anyone that has been in a traumatic event may experience PTSD. Natural
disasters, serious accidents, terrorist acts, rape or other violent personal
assaults can all result in a person having PTSD. You may also be experiencing additional
symptoms from your PTSD including depression, mood swings, and difficulty
I do not have PTSD, but are their other benefits of
Absolutely! Same as any other therapy modality, HAT is a
great way for people to work through any life challenges past or present. For example, Veterans transitioning to
civilian life find great benefit coming out and participating in the HAT
program. Additionally, marriages that
have struggled for various reasons have found renewal and new processes for effective
communication improving their marriage in tremendous ways. HAT is a therapeutic process with a variety
of benefits for people with many challenges.
Our providers are qualified mental health workers with extensive
education, training, and personal experiences unmatched by other
professionals. If you are looking for a
way to improve your well-being and emotional health, Paradise Ranch is the
place for you.
I really want to try Horse Assisted Therapy (HAT),
but is it
Paradise Ranch has an extensive training program for HAT
providers and horses. Paradise Ranch
horses are selected based on their personality, attitude, and desire to work
with children. Our horse handlers and
providers spend years studying horse behavior and natural training
techniques. Our providers understand how
to read the horse’s behaviors and know what the horse is saying to the people
around the horse. Also, providers take
cues from your body language and verbal tones to help you understand what the
horse is “hearing” from your tone and body position. The horses are trained to never kick, bite,
or show any aggression towards humans.
This makes our program one of the safest and most effective horse programs.
How does Horse Assisted Therapy (HAT) help my PTSD?
There are a variety of treatments for PTSD including
trauma-focused psychotherapy and medications to reduce or eliminate PTSD
symptoms. HAT is an enhancement to any
form of treatment you are currently receiving.
HAT providers guide the interactions between you and the horse in an
effort to form a connection. This bond
between you and the horse is the beginnings of learning how to experience
emotion in a productive way again, rather than ignoring, pushing away, or
hiding emotions. Providers work to
improve your personal understanding through the horses eyes by reading
reactions and behaviors from the horses.
Very simple interactions with the horses such as brushing, other grooming
activities, and cleaning, etc. hold the frame and help you practice living in
the moment and learn to enjoy the “now” again.
Horses reflect emotions and help you recognize exactly what you are
feeling during these simple interactions and teach you how to communicate how
you feel in a productive way. The
feeling of well-being and reduction of anxiety and stress are key components to
the success of HAT with PTSD.
How long does the HAT
Every person is different in their needs, experiences, and
life challenges. HAT providers take this
into consideration when developing the treatment plan for you and assess your
progress every 90 days. Some people
benefit from weekly sessions while people that have been in the program for
several months see continued success through bi-weekly or once a month sessions. Generally, sessions start frequently and are
more intense and as your symptoms improve, the intensity and frequency of HAT
slows down. We encourage you to take the
program one day at a time and before you know it, you will be feeling better
than you ever thought possible.
Does Paradise Ranch take insurance?
Paradise Ranch does currently take fee for service (FFS)
Medicaid for medically necessary treatment.
This includes psychosocial rehabilitation (PSR) and family therapy. The process for this treatment is a little
different from HAT and requires annual assessments and a mental health
diagnosis. Talk to your in-take provider
if you think this is an option for your family.
Additionally, the Veteran’s Affairs (VA) office has
intermittent grant opportunities for veterans with various mental health
needs. We work closely with the
recreation therapy department and have another PTSD program starting with the
VA soon. Please call for more details.
How do I start HAT sessions?
Call 702-515-7117 to schedule your evaluation
appointment. During this appointment you
will fill out all the necessary paperwork and meet your in-take provider. Your provider will give you a full tour of
the facility, introduce you to all the horses, and answer any questions you have
about the HAT program. Treatment is a
team effort, so anyone who is affected by your PTSD journey is welcome at the
appointment and is invited to provide feedback during the appointment. This appointment is when we establish general
goals and objectives for your treatment.
Make sure to wear closed toed shoes and pants. No sandals, flip-flops, crocs, etc.