Reins of Change A Little Horse Sense Helpful in Psychotherapy Treatment

By Dillon, Naomi | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), May 12, 2003 | Go to article overview
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Reins of Change A Little Horse Sense Helpful in Psychotherapy Treatment


Dillon, Naomi, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Naomi Dillon Daily Herald Staff Writer

There are people who are called horse whisperers, who use their highly intuitive understanding of the equine animal to aid in their handling and training.

It should be no surprise that it can work the other way.

Horses are highly-attuned animals and respond to the mood and behavior of their handlers, says Amy Blossom, who, with her husband, Dave, opened Reins of Change in October. They operate an Elgin stable that utilizes equine-assisted psychotherapy

Amy Blossom explains that horses are increasingly called upon for their curative powers in everything from eating disorders to managing anger, stress and relationships.

"In the past, people have used horses to deal with physical therapy issues," she said. "In helping people with different physical disabilities, they recognized there was some mental health benefit."

And horses do it simply by being themselves: reactive and skittish.

"I like to call them magic mirrors," said Blossom, who melded her degree in psychology with her love of horses into a career three years ago.

"Horses are herd animals and their natural instinct is to have company," Blossom said. "Unless you are difficult to deal with, they want to be with you."

These interpersonal skills are what's focused in on during sessions.

If a person is well grounded, it's that behavior that keeps the horse around, not the reins, Blossom says.

Hence, participants are forced to work through their individual issues, symbolically taking control of their lives as they try to control the horse.

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Reins of Change A Little Horse Sense Helpful in Psychotherapy Treatment
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