What is Equine Assisted Psychotherapy?
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is an experiential model of therapy that utilizes the power of the horse-human relationship. All sessions are facilitated by Kathryn Davis (MA, LPC), Linda Yopp (Equine Specialist), and one or more horses, and are ground-based (no riding). The horses are free to interact and respond to clients in the session; their intuition, presence, and ability to sense discrepancy are all powerful ways they help clients move toward their goals.
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is for those who are ready to try a different kind of therapy, who are stuck in talking and ready for walking (with the horses), who connect more deeply through experience and doing. No horse experience is necessary, just a willingness to show up and be ready for change. We specialize in working with mostly female adolescents (15+) and women.
Horses are prey animals and that makes them highly- sensitive to their surroundings. They use non-verbal cues and body language to connect with others and can tell when humans are incongruent (mind and body are not connecting/ the person is wearing a mask). They have amazing intuition about when something is not right, but unlike humans they are non-judgmental, which creates safety and openness. They are social by nature (like us), and always present. They have great self-care skills including holding boundaries and giving choices. They truly can help us wake up to any discrepancies, acknowledging our strengths and seeing where we have weaknesses.
Because horses have these qualities, they are incredibly powerful in therapy because they are grounding, they increase dopamine and oxytocin, and they bring our “junk out of the trunk” so we can work through it in real time instead of just verbally processing.
What is Nature-based counseling?
Nature has an incredible ability to help us re-center, get grounded, and gain calmness and clarity. Nature-based counseling is simply counseling in a natural setting (garden, hiking path, nature trail etc.) or doing horticulture therapy (integrating gardening into the counseling process). Research shows the healing power of simply observing a natural scene like a river or mountain range, so integrating this component only adds to the power of the counseling process.
Kathryn Davis, M.A., LPC
Kathryn received her M.A. in Community Counseling from Denver Seminary in 2011. She is an LPC in South Carolina, and is certified with Eagala to offer Equine-assisted psychotherapy. She is passionate about incorporating nature and horses into the counseling process, as both cultivate a powerful experiential component. She works from a Person-centered, Narrative, Faith-based, and Experiential framework. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her 3 children and husband, hiking, gardening, running, and reading books.
Linda Yopp, Eagala certified Equine specialist, Equine Alchemy Life Coach
An Equine Specialist is a highly trained horse professional, and has training in ground work, horse psychology and equine body language/ nonverbal communication.
Linda and her husband Mike have lived in Greenville for 22yrs. They have three adult children and two grands. Linda has owned horses of her own for the past 13 years. She quickly began to see positive changes within her self the more time she spent with her horses, which led her to research the EAGALA model of equine assisted psychotherapy. She was certified in 2014 as an equine specialist and then pursued a Coaching certification through Equine Alchemy in 2015. She is passionate about sharing her healing journey with her horses and helping others find their own path through working with the horses. She relies on the power of the Holy Spirit for guidance and believes if you seek, you will find! Click here to visit her coaching website!
Meet the Herd
Shadydale Equestrian Center
At Grounded Strides, we are committed to creating a transformational space for transformational work. We know that more than ever, there is so much noise (news, social media, inner chatter), distraction, and busyness in our lives, so we created a place for you to get still and grounded again so you can gain clarity on your problems and solutions.
Shadydale is a private, peaceful, and beautiful space that sets the stage for clients to do this kind of work.