Seminar held at Cattleman Park

Published 8:28 pm Friday, July 16, 2010

Therapists and facilitators from 13 counties are in Pike County this week to attend a seminar at Cattleman Park conducted by Greg Kersten, founder of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP). Kersten conducts EAP seminars all across the country and IN Belgium and Australia.

The seminar is sponsored by Southeast Alabama Counseling Services, which operates camps in Pike County and Cottonwood for children and adults with behavioral and emotional problems.

“Greg Kersten is ‘the’ authority on Equine Assisted Psychotherapy,” said Dee Dawkins, Southeast Alabama Counseling Services CEO and Pike County native. “There is no one better qualified to provide the training for our therapists and facilitators. The purpose of the seminar is to certify all our therapists and facilitators to perform EAP therapeutic exercises for our clients. At the end of the three-day seminar, Southeast Alabama Counseling Services will have 50 EAP certified therapists and facilitators to work with the clients at our camps.”

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The camps also offer fishing, archery, arts and crafts and other outdoor recreational opportunities.

Kersten’s O.K. Corral Seminar Series addresses the varied needs and interests in the ever-growing field of equine-assisted wellness.

“The underlying theme of the O.K. Corral Seminar Series is that people are not as far from OK as they might believe,” Kersten said. “Getting every area of a client’s life back to OK is the goal of the program and is attainable through techniques of observation, knowledge and communication.”

Kersten said through the techniques of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy the clients learn to look outside their current situations to discover personal issues.

“By learning to fix problems with horses, they are able to identify and fix their own problems,” he said. “And, EAP is fun. In fact, most clients don’t ever realize they are in therapy.”

The therapists and facilitators who are attending the three-day seminar said they are eager to become certified to work with horses to help humans.

The emphasis of the training is on learning and teambuilding and interpersonal dynamics. Individual roles are explored through a variety of activities and metaphors to natural herd behavior.

“The training is intensive and, when completed, we will have therapists and facilitators who are qualified to use Equine Assisted Psychotherapy as we worked so diligently with our clients to get their lives back to OK,” Dawkins said.

“This type of therapy works. We’ve seen it and it will greatly benefit those who are involved in our camps and our programs.”