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Local Provider Presents at National EAGALA Conference Melissa Dearmont MSW, LCSW, LMHP, CMSW, EAPI presented at the National Annual Conference for the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) in Ogden, Utah March 14 -17th, 2007. Melissa Dearmont presented “Winning Strategies to Fiscal Responsibility in Behavioral Health Practice”, drawing on her experiences in building, managing, and selling mental health practices. Melissa, a certified equine assisted psychotherapist, will be presenting a one day version of this program for EAGALA throughout various parts of the United States. EAGALA is a non profit organization dedicated to improving the mental health of individuals, families, and groups around the world by setting the standard of excellence in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning. Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) is an emerging field in which horses are used as a tool for emotional growth and learning. EAP uses a team approach, bringing together a horse specialist, a licensed therapist and the horses, to assist individuals and groups. Because of its intensity and effectiveness, it is considered a short-term, or "brief" approach. It has an incredible impact on individuals, youth, families, and groups. It 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. The focus of EAP involves setting up ground activities involving the horses which will require the client or group to apply certain skills. Non-verbal communication, assertiveness, creative thinking and problem-solving, leadership, work, taking responsibility, teamwork, relationships, confidence, and attitude are several examples of the tools utilized and developed by EAP. No experience with horses is required to participate and all activities are on the ground. There is no riding in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. EAP addresses a variety of mental health and human development needs including behavioral issues, attention deficit disorder, substance abuse, eating disorders, abuse issues, depression, anxiety, relationship/marital/family problems, communication needs, severe mental illness and many more. EAP is used by groups to learn different approaches to problem solving, conflict management skills, improve teamwork, as well as address many other problems that groups, employees, employers, and corporations face. Through a collaborative experiential learning process, people use experience, reflection, generalization, and application to facilitate learning. The equine-assisted model helps individuals learn about themselves and others by participating in activities with the horses and then processing feelings, behaviors, and patterns, recognizing how these may relate to the workplace or at home. Melissa Dearmont is a licensed mental health practitioner. She is the founder of Midwest Country Clinic, LLC with offices in Burwell and Bassett, Nebraska. EAP services are offered to individuals and families who are enrolled in therapy services. Team building and corporate training services are offered locally and nationally. Midwest Country Clinic, LLC is one of four facilities in Nebraska offering Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning. Dearmont’s co-facilitator, Sherry Jarvis (horse professional), owner of Heart in Your Hand Horsemanship in Burwell, also attended the conference in Ogden. Jarvis and Dearmont are planning a number of equine assisted programs throughout Nebraska in the next few months. Topics such as “Strengthening Client Relations”, “Introduction to EAP”, and “Strengthening Marriages” will be offered to Nebraska professionals and residents.
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