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 maintaining relationships.
I do not have PTSD, but are their other benefits of
HAT for veterans?
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 safe?
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 process take?
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.