This is an inspiring article about how Equine-Facilitate Therapy can help people move on after a crisis.
This is an inspiring article about how Equine-Facilitate Therapy can help people move on after a crisis.
Hello! I am Riagain Wiley, an intern at Berkshire HorseWorks from Miss Hall’s School. As someone who has suffered from anxiety my entire life, it is important to me to be able to share information about how it affects me and also recent studies that may help you or others you know. Relatively new research has been released, implying that social anxiety stems not from a phobia of the actual situation itself, but from how people around the person react to the situation.
I have a severe case of social anxiety which, if left unchecked could potentially cause me to miss opportunities that I need and want. For years, I would not speak up when there was something I needed to say whether it was in class or another public setting, in fear of being judged by my peers. This stopped me from showing off what I was capable, and people tended to overlook me because of my lack of self-confidence and my social anxiety. I had to work for years on finding ways (even if they were small) to open up and start to believe that my ideas were worth sharing and that people wouldn’t judge me on every little thing I did. At first, talking in public settings felt like it was the end of the world. I was stuttering and would forget my ideas all the time. As time passed, I gained practice and knowledge in public speaking, and although my anxiety never ceased, I have better coping mechanisms, helping me to overcome my anxiety. Now I compete in varsity sports, singing competitions, have joined a band, and am a member of my school’s a capella group. Anxiety is still a prominent factor in my life, but I have ceased letting it dictate what I can and cannot
According to an online article by Psychology Today called “New Research Reveals Neural Roots of Social Anxiety”, anxiety is a broad term, meaning the symptoms and experiences can vary on the type of anxiety being experienced. Personally, I have a social anxiety disorder (social phobia) which is the overwhelming self-consciousness in ordinary social encounters, heightened by a sense of being watched and judged by others and a fear of embarrassment. Despite common misconceptions, anxiety disorders are more than just nervousness and worrying, they can also include irrational thought which can not be distinguished from rational thought by the person suffering from the anxiety. Some coping mechanisms include:
A recent article published in the October issue of Insurance & Financial Meetings Management titled “CSR-Enhanced Teambuilding: Delivering a ‘Return on Emotion,'” speaks to the tremendous benefits of corporate teambuilding. According to Jonathan Denmark, President and COO of MountainOne Insurance, who recently brought his sales team to Berkshire HorseWorks for a half day equine assisted teambuilding workshop, “It really humanized people. It broke down a lot of the thick barriers and made them a little more vulnerable… The feedback was absolutely incredible. They say, ‘This is really unique. My company and my leader really care about me. They want us to improve in these situations.'” Corporate social responsibility (CSR) teambuilding has always existed to improve the cohesiveness of companies, but now the options have evolved beyond “ropes courses and bike building.” Some key benefits of Equine Assisted Teambuilding (EAT) programming include:
Berkshire HorseWorks, now celebrating its 5th year, has increased its focus on cultivating equine assisted teambuilding workshops, the money from which will go directly fund therapeutic equine programs for those at risk. To learn more about CSR teambuilding and the work done here at BHW check out the article (on page 22) in the link below.
Hello! I’m Rose Battista, a new volunteer at Berkshire Horseworks from Miss Hall’s School. I plan on writing blogs on recent discoveries about mental health ,development and teambuilding in hopes we at BHW can be of some help.
Social, verbal and physical bullying throughout elementary, middle, and high school has been at the forefront of many people’s minds. Sadly, it is not something that will go away quickly or easily. Bullying goes much deeper than it can seem. According to a recent article entitled “Experts: Bullying Partly Driven by Development, Self-regulation,” bullying of young children from their peers can stem from a variety of things ranging from rapid changes in school or family situations to general power imbalance because of disparity in perceived privilege. No one wants to be the victim of bullying and many try to find solutions to the problem. There are times that the policies put in place to prevent bullying do more to harm than to help. The idea of a “zero-tolerance” expulsion policy may seem like a good plan; however, the article referenced above says that bullying may be an “indicator of other behavioral issues for children who could continue to benefit from positive interaction with other students and adults at school” instead of immediate expulsion or suspension. I actually agree with the latter statement. If a child is automatically expelled it prevents the opportunity to fully excel and give him/her a chance to evolve and forge new connections.
Through EAGALA Model equine assisted psychotherapy and life skill development practiced here at Berkshire HorseWorks and in 50 countries around the world, bullies can see the immediate result of their actions. Since horses feel no need to hide their reactions or to put on a brave face, they will show a very genuine response if someone tries to communicate with them through yelling or bullying. Horses will mirror behavior of the person in the arena whether it is positive or negative. Horses are intuitive and non judgmental but they are also prey animals so they need to know in any given moment whether they can trust you. Because of this the horse then becomes a metaphor for either the interactions between a bully and a person being bullied or just the object of the bullying. This experiential learning will enable the bully to actually see and feel the impact of his or her behavior on others, and according to Aspen Education, “recognize their own dysfunctional behavior”. This modality helps them find a more positive way to communicate and interact with peers.
The Newnan Times-Herald. (2018). Experts: Bullying partly driven by development, self-regulation. http://times-herald.com/news/2018/10/experts-bullying-partly-driven-by-development-self-regulation [Accessed 9 Oct. 2018].
Aspeneducation.crchealth.com. (2018). How Horses Help Kids with Emotional & Behavioral Issues | Aspen Education Programs. https://aspeneducation.crchealth.com/articles/article-equine-therapy/ [Accessed 9 Oct. 2018].
Heart pounding, inability to breathe, sweating, stomach aches, sound familiar? I hate anxiety and I have been SO anxious lately, what is going on!? After taking to the internet for some answers it seems I am not the only one with heightened anxiety these days. After doing some research I found a common theme in a multitude of articles and reports dedicated to unraveling why anxiety is on the rise throughout the country.
According to Jeremy Clyman, Psy.D in Psychology Today, “This unsettling trend seems made up of heightened negative emotional states (sadness, grief, fear, anger, frustration, etc.) and pronounced worry about societal injustice, dysfunction and catastrophe. I dub it Trump Anxiety” With rising records of “Trump Induced Anxiety”, self-care and positive interventions have become crucial coping mechanisms for navigating our current political climate. Managing this anxiety on an individual level, in ways that are productive and healing to you, has become a tricky problem that many feel at a loss to solve.
“There is a fear of the world ending,” Elisabeth LaMotte, founder of D.C. Counseling and Psychotherapy Center, told CBC. “It’s very disorienting and constantly unsettling.” (Breitbart.com)
Psychologist Jeremy Clyman suggests two coping strategies in his article, “Since Trump Anxiety breeds unavoidable and righteous negative emotions… we have to channel these emotions constructively. So after the radical acceptance step, we must take the lingering emotional energy and intentionally channel it through healthy choices and behaviors… There are always only two options in this vein – suppress or express.”
While one should never strive to be uninformed, allowing oneself to focus on the micro aspects of daily life during this time is a perfectly acceptable tool to use for maintaining daily functioning and managing this anxiety. For those who feel moved to take action as a means to cope, there are many options available on the ground level to inspire change. Creating a Facebook Fundraiser or GoFundMe for a charity of choice is one great way to stay involved and feel connected to others with similar beliefs. Becoming engaged in community events and volunteering can also help foster interpersonal support and reduce feelings of isolation and division in this chilling sociopolitical atmosphere. Most importantly, taking slivers of time to practice positivity through simple actions such as taking a walk, mindful breathing exercises, and spending time with our pets and loved ones can make a world of difference. Spread the word and ask one another, what works for you? Open the dialogue and find connection.
As an employee at Berkshire HorseWorks, I have seen how working with horses and in the EAGALA model can help alleviate some measure of anxiety. Find a local ranch or barn that offers equine assisted psychotherapy or learning if you are interested in exploring the benefits of this therapeutic modality. For those times when humanity becomes too dark, spending time with animals and in nature can lend healing energy as a salve for the soul. The first place to begin reconnecting is with yourself and the earth.
Berkshire HorseWorks, and its founder Hayley Sumner, were recently featured in The Berkshire Eagle. The article discussed BHW’s mission, and raised awareness of equine-assisted therapy programs. Please support BHW and The Berkshire Eagle by reading the full article here https://www.berkshireeagle.com/stories/berkshire-horseworks-therapy-no-couch-needed-just-a-saddle,544645
BHW’s annual event, “The Derby Gala”, was recently featured by The Berkshire Edge. You can read the article here https://theberkshireedge.com/berkshire-horseworks-gala-the-derby-to-benefit-equine-assisted-therapy-programs/
Miss Hall’s School students, Anna Kim and Tiffany Luu will host “Girls Aloud! Advocating Girls Empowerment,” from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 29, at The Barn at the Egremont Village Inn, 17 South Main Street in Egremont.
Proceeds from the show will benefit Berkshire HorseWorks, so please take some time to support both Anna and Tiffany as well as BHW!
Here is a link to the School’s website with more information.
We here at Berkshire HorseWorks are starting to get out equines back into shape after they had a few months off due to the weather and our move! We are seeking one or two experienced riders (must be at least intermediate level) to help us bring our boys back into work. This will be a volunteer/intern basis and we are hoping to have someone out at least 2x a week to work with our Barn and Equine Manager.
Anyone who is interested and would like more information should contact Hayley Sumner at Hayley@berkshirehorseworks.com or (310) 488-9777
Our blogger, Genevieve, who has been an intern here went to Washington D.C.
Two weeks ago, I was able to travel to Washington D.C. for L’taken, a social justice seminar for Jewish teens from all over the nation. L’taken prepares teens to write and present a speech to Capitol Hill on a variety of topics. The weekend is structured to provide an introduction on many topics including LGBTQ+ rights, voting rights, climate justice and Israel. Once a topic is chosen, teens work with other teens from their congregation and legislative assistants from the RAC to write their speeches. This event was hosted by the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism. The RAC “mobilizes around federal, state, and local legislation; supports and develops congregational leaders; and organizes communities to create a world overflowing with justice, compassion, and peace.”
Each program was lead by a legislative assistant that specialized in that particular topic, so the programs were focused, interesting and fun. I learned so much about each topic, while having fun and meeting people from all over the nation. I chose to write and talk about climate justice, specifically, fighting for renewable energy to become more popular and fossil fuels to stay in the ground, for our meetings on Capitol Hill on Monday. Attending this event opened my eyes to another interest, tikum olam, or repairing the world.
The torah tells us “Tzedek, tzedek tirdof,” “Justice, justice you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:20). One of the most important jewish values is standing up for what you believe in. I hope to live out this value for the rest of my life, especially as I head off to college next year. I will be attending Mount Holyoke College in the fall, where the students are encouraged to be politically active and fight for what they believe in. I am planning to join clubs that align with my beliefs and stay politically active, especially in the current political climate. The biggest take away from this seminar was the importance of being politically active and reminding your representatives what their constituents want from them.