Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is a therapeutic treatment model comprised of a Mental Health professional, an Equine Specialist and a Horse to provide service to the client. This model was developed by the Equine Assisted Growing And Learning Association (EAGALA) and is a solution oriented process that incorporates horses for emotional growth and learning.
Equine Assisted Psychotherapy is a holistic and integrative approach to healing, recovery and wellness grounded in the neurobiology of relationships, self-regulation, trauma and addictions.
Meet Doctor Michele R. Miele, Psy.D.
My theoretical orientation is founded on my high regard for mind-body connection and integrated health. The blood is the lifeline of the body and physical health as thoughts are the lifeline to the mind and mental health. Thoughts, feelings and behaviors neurologically and physiologically send dynamic responses to the mind and body, affecting one’s overall physical and mental health. Negative thoughts and inaccurate personal beliefs manifest through one’s behaviors and physical aliments often outside of a person’s awareness. To help people achieve their potential, it is vital to practice holistic treatment by considering all factors that contribute to one’s overall health and wellness.
In an effort to decrease mental health stigma, I aspire to increase awareness for all people of the interchange between one’s mental and physical health and ultimately how it affects their overall level of functioning and potentiality. I support the APA endorsement of recovery-oriented patient-centered therapy. I have experienced more effective treatment outcomes by first helping people to develop a greater sense of self-efficacy towards their own health, wellness and potential. As people become empowered, they learn to rebuild their identity around meaningful goals as opposed to feeling powerless and defined by their life circumstances or illnesses.
My dissertation research explores if therapists attitudes towards people with severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia, impacts their belief in the patient’s ability to experience recovery. Both future research on recovery for mental illness and the development of training programs to expand conceptualizations of disorders are paramount for change. Understanding the power of recovery will aid in reducing mental health stigma and will help build a new culture of mental health wellness.
Meet Gigi Jantos
Gigi Jantos brings years of program development and facilitation to our program, having worked as the Training Coordinator for the PA House of Representatives. She was responsible for continuing education for employees based in Harrisburg and across the state. Gigi holds a professional certification from the Center for Mind Body Medicine, a program focused on the science and skills of self-care and personal growth techniques such as meditation and guided imagery. For 20 years Gigi has been a Reiki practitioner and teacher, and has provided services and training at many area hospitals, including teaching elective courses at Penn State School of Medicine. She is the founder of Partners in Wellness, a grant funded program utilizing self-care services for people diagnosed with cancer, and Heart of Healing, a survivorship program that was previously funded by Komen for the Cure. Gigi provides individualized life-coaching sessions and has worked with people from all walks of life, helping them to transform and thrive. She is a certified dog therapy team with Caring Hearts Pet Therapy providing services to school based children’s reading programs.
Meet some of the Equine Team
Horses are wise mentors in this unique type of work, as horses never lie or have hidden agendas. Instead horses respond to what they see and feel in the moment. As prey animals, their flight instincts become instant mirrors and non-judgmental feedback mechanisms for humans. Horses sense and respond to a person’s intentions, emotions and thoughts that are conveyed subconsciously through body language. Through the experience of observing a horse’s response to their requests and directions, each person learns how to communicate more effectively, face their fears and manage their emotions, and become more consistent and congruent with their actions. Through one-on-one interaction with individual horses, attendees also learn new relationship building skills. A tremendous confidence boost comes from learning how to connect with and direct a 1200 pound animal without a word spoken. Sessions with horses are highly interactive and provide an ‘in the moment’ learning experience, giving participants skills which can be difficult to acquire in more traditional settings.
What can I accept to learn?
Make choices and take actions based on courage and awareness verses automatic, ‘learned’ responses.
Build trust in relationships and teams.
- Develop skills to work through uncomfortable, emotionally charged situations.
- Move from conflict into resolution and agreement more quickly.
- Face fears and learn new behaviors to gain personal power and respect.
- Experience breakthroughs that increase the depth of Emotional Intelligence.
- Expand cohesiveness and productivity within teams and partnerships.
For information on our programs please contact Donna Snyder at Donna@JohnnaStables.com or 717-645-3460