Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI)

Behavior Services of the Mid-South LLC is partnering with Southern Reins Center for Equine Therapy in Nesbit, MS AND Trinity Farm LLC in Lakeland, TN to offer Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) and Equine programming. BSMS and Southern Reins offer social skills equine camps, individual and small group programming, team building programs, and training opportunities for local mental health clinicians. For more information about scheduling an event at one of the two locations we serve or upcoming events go to: http://www.southernreins.org/program  OR http://trinityfarmtn.com/

 

Trinity Farm LLC

10365 Monroe Rd

Lakeland, TN38002

901-867-8682

http://trinityfarmtn.com/

 

Southern Reins Center for Equine Therapy                                                  

5750 Conger Rd                                                                                                                                                                   Nesbit, MS 38651                                                                                                                                                      

901-290-1011

www.southernreigns.org

 

Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) and programming incorporates animal(s) into therapeutic sessions in an attempt to offer an in vivo opportunity to work with clients. Animal Assisted Interventions can include multiple animals within the therapeutic environment. Animal Assisted Interventions should be performed by trained mental health clinicians who have experience in cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy and/ or other treatment modalities that are evidence-based. The clinician should also have familiarity with the type of animals being used in the therapeutic environment. Animal Assisted Interventions and programming is an experiential type of intervention that is not currently considered evidence-based. Ongoing research is being conducted to validate the effectiveness of the AAI in programming. Most insurance companies will not cover experiential therapy programming, and families should be aware of this when inquiring about AAI programming. It is also best practice for the clinician to have an animal assisted intervention certificate when performing this type of experiential therapy.

At the Farms we serve, the AAI of Equine Programming is utilized and incorporates horses experientially for mental and behavioral health therapy and personal development. The trained mental health clinicians that provide services at these Farm locations are trained in CBT, TFCBT, and in ABA. These theoretical frameworks and interventions are utilized in conjunction with animals in therapy. Animals can be utilized as social lubricants to increase client interaction in therapy, and the clinician uses the animal within the preferred evidence-based treatment modality. AAI programming (equine specific), is a collaborative effort between a licensed therapist and a horse professional working with the clients and horses to address treatment goals. Because of its intensity and effectiveness, it is considered a short-term, or "brief" approach. AAI and Equine Programming should not take the place of evidence-based interventions and programming, but should be use din conjunction with these evidence-based processes.

AAI and Equine programming is experiential in nature. This means that participants learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses, and then processing (or discussing) feelings, behaviors, and patterns. This approach has been compared to the ropes courses used by therapists, treatment facilities, and human development courses around the world. But AAI/ Equine programming has the added advantage of utilizing horses, dynamic and powerful living beings. The child and adolescent horse camps and small group programming offered at these locations incorporate neuro-typical children in the programming in order to offer peer models for the clients.

Therapeutic Riding helps to develop self-awareness and confidence, teach and enhance empathic skill development, improve problem solving skills, assists in improving concentration, assists in improving fine motor and gross motor skills, as well as physical improvements in muscle strengthening and stretching. This type of riding typically does not include CBT, TFCBT, or ABA practices and is aimed at improving motor skills and core muscle development.