Tucson treatment facility uses horses to treat PTSD

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) – This is PTSD Awareness Month.

About 7 to 8% of people are affected by post-traumatic stress disorder in their lifetime, according to the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

The local treatment center, Sierra Tucson, sees the majority of its patients arrive with some form of trauma, according to its associate clinical director.

One method of treating PTSD used by the center involves horses. It is better known as equine therapy.

Jennifer England is an equine therapist at the treatment center and she says it’s about connecting and stepping out of your comfort zone.

“I think the goal of our residents here in Sierra Tucson and in Equine Therapy is that we not only want them to survive the trauma, but we want them to live, right, their best lives,” said L ‘England.

England said horses keep the patient in the present because they are always in the present.

“They help residents see what to do if something is dangerous in the environment [and] how to assess it and return to a state of calm, ”she said.

VA data shows that there are currently around eight million people in the United States with PTSD.

Sierra Tucson Associate Clinical Director Elaine Hixson-Weiss said the trauma was different for everyone.

“Sometimes people think that those who fought are the only ones with trauma. Other people going about their daily lives may face issues that some people can handle a little more easily than others, ”said Hixson-Weiss.

As for the success rate of equitherapy, the experts at Sierra Tucson say they measure it on a case-by-case basis.

“Again, with this experiential component, I think we can see that residents can maybe move a little faster on some issues, compared to other more traditional therapy,” England said.

For those who are worried about starting treatment, Sierra Tucson says you’re not alone.

“If your goal is not just to survive, but to live and thrive, consider coming to a place like the Sierra Tucson. Think of an equine partner as a therapy partner, as they will share this journey with you,” he said. declared England.

Equine therapy is also used to help those recovering from sexual abuse, anxiety, and depression.

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