Group programs are built through structured relationships with organizations and schools in Collier County. Participants are identified by professionals in the organizations with whom they are affiliated. NTRC does not accept individual requests for group programs at this time.
NTRC’s group programs currently serve 500-600 participants, each year, who are overcoming mental, emotional and behavioral health challenges. The groups are facilitated as mounted or unmounted programs. Participants are healing from PTSD due to trauma and violence, they are children who have lost a loved one, they are those struggling with addiction, homeless youth, and those diagnosed with mental health issues. Groups are developed based on community needs and assessments and are in collaboration with organizations serving some of the most at-risk people in Collier County.
Equine-facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) is an unmounted group therapy program geared towards people with behavioral and mental health challenges, as well as at-risk populations. The groups are made up of six participants and are facilitated by an equine specialist and a mental health counselor. The group receives an orientation about horses that includes how to approach them, how to tack, and how to keep healthy boundaries with them throughout the workshop. Following the orientation, the participants are invited to each select a horse to serve as their cohort in the session.
What are some of the activities in an EFP session?
Participants in the program are engaged through trust building activities, obstacle courses, communication exercises, horse grooming and care, and various other exercises. Each exercise is presented with a therapeutic goal for the participants and culminates with a group discussion/process session.
Equine-facilitated Learning (EFL) is an experiential learning approach that promotes the development of life skills for educational, professional and personal goals through equine-assisted activities.
In an EFL setting, the experiential approach integrates equine-human interaction that is guided by a planned learning experience to meet the identified goals or desires of the participant(s). Working with equines provides opportunities to teach critical life skills such as trust, respect, honesty and communication.
Participants gain self-esteem and self-confidence while learning how to work with such a large and powerful creature. In all, equines provide us with a way to see our internal landscape and modes of operation exposed. They offer us the opportunity to experience humility, compassion and challenge – all critical elements to supporting self-growth and self-awareness.
NTRC offers EFL groups as both mounted (with riding and groundwork incorporated) and unmounted (with ground work).