Equine Ministry

"Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is his good, pleasing and perfect will."

Romans 12:2

    Chrysalis is uniquely suited to bring transformational change and healing to women through Christ-centered, trauma-informed counseling incorporating equine therapy, close community, and purposeful work over an extended period of time – ideally two years.

Image by Esther Driehaus
Psychologist Session

    We are learning so much about the neurological effects of trauma and how people who have experienced severe trauma have limited/altered neural pathway development, often impairing decision-making and cognitive function as they tend to operate in survival mode (Pechtel & Pizzagalli, 2011). The horse is a unique tool in this battle, as they too operate in survival mode. As a prey animal, they are wired for fight or flight. This is the same behavior we see in survivors of trauma.  Operating in the amygdala - the reactionary part of their brain, hyper-vigilant to any signs of danger around them – relationships can be difficult and everyday tasks and academic endeavors overwhelming. As these individuals work on building a relationship with a horse, they are literally exercising the relational ‘muscle’ of their brain. Studies have shown that this methodology is effective in reducing the psychological, emotional, and/or behavioral problems in those with a trauma history (Dziegielewksi, 2014).

    Beyond these unique therapies, we see great value in structure, routine, quiet time, recreation and responsibility. While adverse childhood events (ACEs) can lead to adoption of health-risk behaviors and even early death (ACE Study, Figure A), a secure, nurturing environment forms the foundation for achieving one’s full potential (Maslow Triangle, Figure B). In addition to equine therapy, residents would be immersed in scheduled activities of healthy living including physical and psychological care, education, mentorship, community engagement, and purposeful work.

Dziegielewksi, N. (2014). Trauma-focused equine assisted psychotherapy: a quantitative study of intervention effectiveness. Northampton, MA: Smith College.

Pechtel, P., & Pizzagalli, D. (2011). Effects of early life stress on cognitive and affective function: an integrated review of human literature. Psychopharmacology, 55-70.

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