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Equine Partners in Counseling (EPIC) Training Is Changing the Face of Mental Health

Ph.D. shares pioneering research with counselors June 6; provides CEUs

FLOWER MOUND, Texas, May 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Thanks to a Ph.D. with the last name of "Trotter," there is now clinical proof that counseling sessions including a horse can be more beneficial than traditional talk therapy. Dr. Kay Trotter shares her ground-breaking research with other mental health professionals during her premier Equine Partners In Counseling (EPIC) Training June 6 at Bridlewood Stables in Flower Mound, TX. Besides learning new tools, counselors will earn CEUs at Dr. Trotter's EPIC workshops.

"When I was researching topics for my doctoral dissertation at the University of North Texas (UNT)," said Dr. Trotter, "I found anecdotal evidence about horse therapy, but no proven empirical research. I decided to do the first formal clinical study and attempt to either prove or disprove that horses help people in measurable ways."

Under the guidance of Dr. Cynthia Chandler, who developed and directs the Center for Animal Assisted Therapy at UNT, Dr. Trotter compared and contrasted the experiences of youngsters who participated in a 12-week Equine Assisted Counseling (EAC) program with those who remained in a classroom for traditional counseling. The results proved decisively that horse therapy gets authentic results in increasing positive behaviors in clients, and are in her dissertation, "The Efficacy of Equine Assisted Group Counseling with At-Risk Children and Adolescents." Her pioneering work is being featured in The Journal of Creativity in Mental Health, a peer-review publication of the American Counseling Association (ACA). Dr. Trotter is also interviewed in an upcoming issue of the ACA's "Counseling Today."

"During the study, we let youngsters select a horse to work with, and assigned them specific tasks," Dr. Trotter explained. For instance, each child had to approach a horse, put a halter on the animal, and then lead it to the facilitators.

"If youngsters are going to successfully complete the task, they must immediately change their behaviors to win the horses' trust," said Dr. Trotter. "Behavioral changes that might take weeks of traditional therapy can happen instantly in the arena when children see how the horse responds."

During the EPIC workshops June 6, counselors will learn what EAC is, and how it can benefit clients. The afternoon workshop focuses on using horses with clients diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Participants will earn 3 CEUs for each session. EPIC workshops are $75 each, or both for $120. Out of town guests can receive discounts at the Hilton Gardens Inn Lewisburg, (972) 459-4600.

To register for the EPIC workshops visit Dr. Trotter's website at, or call her at (214) 499-0396.

SOURCE Dr. Kay Trotter
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