MY OTHER COUNSELING WORK
Up until COVID caused the facility to shut down, I worked as a volunteer counselor in the fall and spring at Eye of a Horse, an equine assisted psychotherapy (EAP) facility located on the property of Forever Florida in beautiful St. Cloud, Florida. There, clients experienced the positive benefits of both being in nature and interacting with the animals while receiving mental health services as an individual or in small groups.
At Eye of the Horse, I worked primarily with young adults diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Veterans who are struggling with a variety of mental health challenges including depression, anxiety, PTSD, and substance use disorders. Other populations included at-risk youth, and survivors of trauma, sexual abuse, or intimate partner violence.
EAP incorporates horses (and in our case, sometimes cows) into the mental health treatment with the help of a mental health professional and a horse specialist. Issues such as depression, anxiety, trauma, anger, bereavement, and social/relationship problems can be addressed in this kind of therapy. EAP can be a stand-alone therapy, or used in conjunction with more traditional mental health modalities.
Below, I've shared some of my favorite pictures from my work on the ranch with Eye of a Horse.
When I am not a counselor, I am an educator. I am a tenured professor at Eastern Florida State College. I have been the Program Manager for the Phlebotomy Certificate Program since 2010. I also teach in the Psychology and Human Services Departments along with a few other Health Sciences core courses. I am passionate about teaching and find it rewarding to see my students build confidence in their abilities while they learn valuable skills.
Outside of Work
I have lived on the Space Coast of Central Florida for almost all of my life. I have a wonderful husband, a great kid, and several cats and dogs. When I am not busy with work, I love to read; whether it's a good old-fashioned paper book, on my kindle, or listening on Audible, fiction or non-fiction - reading is my favorite thing.
I also find peace when I create art, and sometimes do so as a form of meditation. I have had a mindfulness meditation practice for about ten years and I have recently added yoga to my practice. I find an abundance of peace and calm by being outside in nature and feel grateful to live in such a beautiful area with access to the river and beaches.
Some of the other things I love include horseback riding, going on Disney adventures with the family (pre-covid), playing video games with my husband and son, and going out to eat (pre-covid). Most recently, my husband and I have become avid backpackers, going hiking and camping all over the state of Florida and beyond. Our goal is to one day hike the whole Appalachian Trail!
Check out some pictures of the horses and cows below from my time at Eye of a Horse.