One More Step Forward with SRD Straightening Reins
As researchers continue to close the gaps between mental health issues and substance abuse, psychiatrists note that often youth self-medicate to relieve issues of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and stresses caused by self-loathing and peer pressure. The FundaMental Change Foundation enlisted SRD Straightening Reins to begin a six-week pilot program for young woman who were receiving treatment at a local residential program. To remain within the CDC standards, only ten young women were brought to the Ranch to work with the herd. Certain exercises were created to allow them to observe behaviors reflected back from the horses. All precautions were taken to make sure the physical distancing practices, masks and temperature checks were adhered to.
Exercises were provided to allow them to build trust with each other, learn better leadership and communication skills, and the day-to-day needs of caring for the horses. Group discussions were added for further reflection. After each exercise the young women were asked several questions and to journal their responses. Sharing was on a voluntary basis.
I had the opportunity to interview these young women at one of the sessions. I was fascinated to watch how each person decided to solve specific problems even though they had no previous experience with horses. After the exeracise I sat and asked how they felt about their visits to the SRD Ranch and what they learned. Their comments ranged from a feeling of openness because of the surroundings and empathy toward each other as they learned more about the other person’s life story. They mentioned how they felt centered upon returning to the residential facility and a sense of peacefulness from the experience. They also looked forward to each week’s visit. As the sessions came to a close, their completed surveys reflected an appreciation of the experiences they had at SRD. This opened up new opportunities for them to grow outside of their normal living conditions and they were proud of what they were able to learn about themselves through the program. https://srdstraighteningreins.org
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