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This version of NSU News has been archived as of February 28, 2019. To search through archived articles, visit nova.edu/search. To access the new version of NSU News, visit news.nova.edu.

This version of SharkBytes has been archived as of February 28, 2019. To search through archived articles, visit nova.edu/search. To access the new version of SharkBytes, visit sharkbytes.nova.edu.

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Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796

nova.edu/prmc

SharkBytes Archives

Contact

Division of Public Relations and Marketing Communications
Nova Southeastern University
3301 College Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33314-7796

(954) 262-5353
(800) 541-6682 x25353
Fax: (954) 262-3954
communications@nova.edu

CAHSS’ Family Therapy Program Turns to Horses as Therapy for Children in Foster Care

Stable Place team 2016

Stable Place team 2016

Master’s and doctoral level therapists from the Department of Family Therapy Program (DFT) in NSU’s College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS) will collaborate with Stable Place, a non-profit organization, and researchers from the FIU-BRIDGE program to provide Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy as an additional form of treatment for children in the SOS Children’s Villages-Florida.

Co-directed by Shelley Green, Ph.D., professor in DFT and FIU psychologist Michelle Hospital, Ph.D., and supported by funding from the Ware Foundation, the project will develop effective Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy interventions to increase self-confidence, improve interpersonal relations and reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms among foster youth ages 10 to 17.

The field of Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy has gained increasing visibility and support in the past 15 years and has been used with individuals experiencing substance abuse, eating disorders, family and marital conflict, sexual abuse, depression, problems in school, and other challenges. The particular approach utilized in this study, developed by Green, is used to teach and train all Stable Place therapists through graduate level coursework offered through DFT master’s and doctoral programs.

“Through this unique partnership with the FIU-BRIDGE program and SOS Childrens’ Village, we will now be able to expand these services to foster care youth,” Green said. “We will be able to incorporate a state-of-the-science research protocol, allowing us to document the effectiveness of this powerful clinical work in helping at-risk youth and children deal effectively with ongoing life challenges.”

Therapists trained by Green will collaborate with certified equine specialists supervised by Stable Place Director Valerie Bruce Judd to deliver the clinical services. The weekly group therapy sessions will be structured around an activity intentionally designed to address specific clinical issues, including creating and maintaining personal boundaries, overcoming fears, improving conflict resolution, enhancing anger management, developing trust, and maintaining personal safety. Facilitated by family therapists trained in the model, the sessions will build on the existing strengths of the participants and provide an experiential means to therapeutic success that can sometimes be elusive through traditional talk therapy methods.