This past year Stable Foundations was  honored to have been nominated by Nova Southeastern University’s School of Humanities and Social Science for the  2012 NSU Corporate Partner of the Year Award at the Student Life Achievement Awards (STUEY). This annual event is an opportunity for NSU to honor individuals and organizations both within and outside of the university that further the sense of campus community. Stable Foundations was recognized for it's collaboration with the Department of Family Therapy at NSU in co-developing a graduate level course titled “Introduction to Equine Assisted Family Therapy” which is now being offered through NSU for students  in mental health related fields.  We are very proud to have been a finalist for this very prestigious award and to have been the first ones to bring this wonderful work  to the students of NSU.
To find out more information about the STUEY awards click here.

I have worked with children on the autism spectrum for the last decade in  my equine therapy practice.  More often than not, the child with the diagnosis is not the only family member in need of support.   With limited resources available, often times parents fail to get the help they need for coping with the marital, parental, financial and other stressors they experience because they use all the resources they do have to help their diagnosed child.  In addition, I have also found that the mental health needs of siblings frequently go untreated.  Often siblings don't speak up about how autism effects them because they know that their parents are overwhelmed.  What I like about the services Stable Foundations offers is that they focus on the family as a whole.  Their equine based approach to family therapy helps every member of the family get the support they need without taxing the family with multiple appointments and multiple fees for service.  Inclusion of the entire family opens communication between family members and illustrates that they must take care of their own needs in order to best help the child with autism.

 I love the oxygen mask metaphor that comes from the airline industry.  If a parent passes out from lack of oxygen they are no longer able to assist their child.  Parents must put their oxygen mask on first.  That is just what Stable Foundations does, meets the needs of the parents and siblings so that they can better support the child most in need.
Terri Jennings, Ph.D.

Dr. Terri Jennings is a licensed psychologist (PY 6802). She has volunteered, worked and trained in the field of psychology for over 10 years. She received her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Miami in 2002. She has worked in a variety of settings with children, adolescents and adults in individual, group and family therapy contexts. She trained for several years with emotionally handicapped children and teens at risk of dropping out of high school within the Miami-Dade Public School System. Dr. Jennings also trained for two years at University of Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital with children and adults with HIV and other chronic illnesses as well as adolescents and adults in substance abuse treatment.
 
More information about Dr. Jennings and her work may be found on her website:  www.healinghoovesinc.com

Hello everyone! Thanks for visiting the Stable Foundations blog spot. If you made it this far on our website, than you’re probably curious to learn more about equine assisted family therapy. One of the questions I get asked frequently is “why do you use horses?”. Well, it’s a good question I’d like to begin to answer in this post…

Horses are prey animals that are very aware of their environment. They are social animals that have their own defined role within their herd. Just like us, they have their own personalities, attitudes and moods. They are intuitive creatures that pay close attention to body language and are very sensitive to non-verbal communication.

Through their distinct body language they communicate clear and direct messages. Horses are honest animals and provide immediate feedback. They are large and powerful creatures. They can be intimidating and provide great opportunity for mastery. Horses are also known to mirror behaviors of human and therefore provide great opportunities for metaphors when working with clients.

When working with horses in Equine Assisted Family Therapy (EAFT) they help facilitate the session and become excellent catalysts for change.

Did you know that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month? It is...and what we know about sexual assault in our country is staggering. Just so we are all on the same page, "sexual assault" is defined as any sexual activity between two or more people in which one of the individuals is involved against his or her will. Sexual assault may include anything from unwanted sexual touch to sexual penetration. It includes childhood sexual abuse, date rape, stranger rape, military sexual assault and the sexual exploitation often seen in the human trafficking of both children and adults.

Some studies now place the estimated number of individuals who will be sexually assaulted prior to their 18th birthday at 1 in 3 for females and 1 in 7 for males...and the thinking is that these figures may even be conservative. Having worked with sexual trauma survivors for more than 20 years as a therapist, I can tell you that I believe they are. So many individuals and families are affected in some way by sexual assault in one form or another. So many of them suffer in silence.

A recent National Crime Victimization Survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice found that 76% of women who were sexually assaulted were assaulted by people they knew with only 18% perpetrated by strangers. Some victims feel that they cannot tell anyone what has happened (or what is still happening) because the perpetrator still has contact with them and is often in a position of power within their lives. They are afraid of reprisal or simply fear that they will not be taken seriously. Statistically, perpetrators of sexual assault against both men and women have been found to be males who, contrary to some misinformed popular belief, identify themselves as heterosexual... many of them married with families. In fact, some 86% of males who were sexually assaulted were victimized by another male. Males, in particular, may find speaking out to be very difficult because of the fear of having their victimization misunderstood by society, in general. Still, the effects are real. Depression, lowered self-esteem, shame, guilt, suicidal ideation, substance abuse, eating disorders and PTSD are just some of the typical issues sexual assault survivors may experience.

Sexual abuse, rape, military sexual assault and human trafficking are all terms we each hear almost daily in the news or read about online or in the media. Knowing what sexual assault is and how to get help if you or someone you know has been victimized is extremely important. The following links are to 2 articles published by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. One is about sexual assault against females (http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/sexual-assault-females.asp), the other is about sexual assault against males (http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/men-sexual-trauma.asp). I believe both contain very good information which everyone should know and I encourage you to read them. With regard to human trafficking, I highly recommend the Broward Human Trafficking Coalition website (www.bhtc.us) for further educational resources. Sexual exploitation via human trafficking of both children and adults is at epidemic proportions and we all need to know how to recognize it and what we can do to stop it.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, Help is available. Call us. Talk to us. We will listen.

Lorisa P. Lewis, MS, LMHC