June is PTSD Awareness Month

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 10.25.22 AMThe United States Senate designated June 27th as National PTSD Awareness Day and The National Center for PTSD designates the entire month of June as PTSD Awareness Month in an effort to bring greater awareness to the issue of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.)


PTSD is a mental health problem that can occur after someone has been exposed to a single traumatic event or multiple traumatic events, such as sexual or physical assault, natural or man-made disaster, and war-related combat stress. Those suffering experience symptoms such as  persistent intrusive thoughts and distressing dreams about the traumatic event, triggered emotional responses to reminders of the trauma, try to avoid thinking or talking about the trauma, and persistent hypervigilance for cues that  indicate additional danger or trauma re-occurring.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD was created in 1989 by a congressional mandate. The goals was to address the needs of veterans with military-related PTSD.

After a traumatic event, effects of the event fade over time for most people. But for others, the memories, thoughts and feelings don’t go away – even months or years after the event is over. Mental health experts are not sure why some people develop PTSD and others do not.


There are many possible treatments for PTSD and a person may have to try a number of them before finding one that works: Counseling and Psychotherapy Treatments such as: Cognitive Psychotherapy, Exposure Psychotherapy Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing for instance. Some suffering from PTSD may also benefit from anti-depressant medications.

There’s a rapidly growing interest in equine-assisted psychotherapy supporting the psychological health and family relationships of service members, veterans and their families worldwide.

More than 30 VA Medical Centers are participating in Equine Assisted Activities (EAA) programs all around the US.

WHY HORSESScreen Shot 2016-06-23 at 10.25.53 AM

According to EAGALA.ORG, The experiential nature of working with horses through the EAGALA Model engages military personnel in their own healing process, with solutions that meet them squarely on their own terms.

Horses have a special ability to help people work through emotional barriers, serving as metaphors and powerful stand-ins for the people, issues, and challenges in the client’s life. The EAGALA Model leads to powerful emotional breakthroughs and life-changing insights for the client, strengthening resilience and coping skills. Through the efforts of facilitators certified with EAGALA Military Services designation, service members, veterans, and their families can more quickly and completely understand and integrate new perspectives and behaviors into their lives.

This is especially true and valuable for people who suffer the effects of trauma. With the EAGALA Model Psychotherapy, clients challenge themselves in activities with horses that remove much of the perceived stigma associated with traditional talk Psychotherapy treatment methods.

If you know a military person or anyone suffering from PTSD, consider horse Psychotherapy through the EAGALA Model.

“We have conducted a number of EAGALA EAP sessions. The veterans who participate
tell me that never have they found a group or individual session so useful and life
changing, and that they have found hope. After these workshops, many reflect
frequently on the experience and skills learned then take these lessons into their
daily lives.”

                                                    -Susan T. Lisi, AFGE Local 3306 Chief Steward,
                                                      VA Medical Center, Canandaigua, New York

“Seeing how differently the horses reacted to each one of us has helped
me get closer to my wife.  It has brought our entire family
closer than we have ever been.”

                                                      -Iraq War veteran

Resources: EAGALA Military Services Brochure
OPRAH: (Video) How Horses Help An Army Veteran Heal From Post Traumatic Stress
PTSD Facts

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