Chan has a BA in Psychology and an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is licensed in both South Carolina and Montana. Prior to opening her own practice, she has worked in private practice, agency, and hospital settings. She enjoys the challenge and creativity it takes to work effectively with children, adolescents, and their families.
Horses are naturally sensitive to human emotion, energy and behavior, so this makes them uniquely appropriate for therapy. Horses provide immediate non-verbal feedback, which is extremely beneficial because it allows individuals to have learning experiences that cannot be easily replicated in a traditional office setting.
Horses are large and social creatures that are non-judgmental and do not have an agenda, they just care if you are safe.
They are experts in providing feedback through their body language, using their ears, legs, tails, and mouth.
They are prey animals who are constantly aware of their surroundings and safety
They operate from the “survival brain,” using Fight, Flight, Freeze responses.
Traumatized individuals respond in the same manner as the horses.
As the horse and person create a partnership, they develop new healthy patterns of behavior. These behaviors evolve into building a relationship.
What is Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP)?
Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy is a unique experiential form of therapy that involves working with horses to address issues resulting from trauma, grief and loss, depression, anxiety, chronic illness and other adverse life circumstances. People often develop negative coping mechanisms and unhealthy relationship patterns as a result of relational wounds. Similarly, horses are prey animals and spend a great deal of their time in their brainstem, or survival mode (fight, flight or freeze), much as trauma victims do. Horses will respond honestly and directly to whatever behaviors and internal states a client presents to them in the session, allowing the client to experience immediate and helpful feedback about the communication and relational patterns they create with the people in their lives. Horses provide opportunities to practice assertive communication, set boundaries, make requests, learn emotional regulation skills, and build trust and confidence in a mutual partnership. All of the skills used to build relationships with the horse are transferable to human relationships.
What does EAP look like?
Since it is relational and individualized it will look very different for each client. During a session individuals do activities with horses. These activities may include grooming, walking, building, creating, observing, or talking. It may also include riding depending on client goals.
Why Choose Chan and The Riding School?
Chan is both a licensed Mental Health Professional and an equine specialist. She has completed both the PATH Mental Health and Learning, and EAGALA Level One trainings. She is currently pursuing certification through Natural Lifemanship. Chan is also certified in Experiential Learning with horses through Lake Erie College. Chan brings a relational, collaborative, and creative approach to therapy.
The Riding School herd comes with a variety of experiences and personalities. They receive individualized and thoughtful care to allow them to do their best work. While they are safe and experienced, they are treated as partners and are fully engaged in the process-their opinions and reactions are valued as part of the process.
Resistance to counseling is common in children and adolescents but it often disappears in the barn. The new environment and the presence of the horses creates a new dynamic for the client.
The Riding School is convenient and close to town but is a private facility; ensuring confidentiality and privacy during counseling.
Chan is currently taking new clients and accepting referrals.
You can also find her on Psychology Today