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Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association Celebrates 10th Anniversary at NARHA Conference

DENVER, CO - November 8-11, 2006, the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association (NARHA) celebrated the 10th Anniversary of the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association (EFMHA) at its Conference and Annual Meeting in Indianapolis. EFMHA, which was founded in 1996 by Boo McDaniels and Barbara Rector, is a special interest section of NARHA.

Capping a four-day conference on the field of equine assisted activities, which included a day-long EFMHA workshop, NARHA honored the two EFMHA founders. As pioneers in the field of equine facilitated mental health, McDaniels and Rector have demonstrated how, by partnering with horses, human personal development, growth, and learning can be enhanced through Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP).

EFP addresses emotional, behavioral, social, mental, physical and/or spiritual needs. It has been used to treat children, teenagers and adults seeking counseling for problems including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome and major life changes such as divorce, grief and loss. EFP is facilitated by a licensed, credentialed mental health professional who partners with an appropriately credentialed equine professional, or is dually credentialed as an equine professional. It may include, but is not limited to, equine activities such as handling, grooming, longeing, riding, driving, and vaulting.

EFMHA sets the standards for instruction, certification and research in the field of equine facilitated mental health. It creates educational materials and accredits practitioners at nationwide Equine Specialist workshops. As an advocate for the implementation of mutually beneficial standards of safe, ethical and effective practice, EFMHA continues to chart the future of the industry. For more information on EFMHA, contact Karen Karvonen, Communications Coordinator, at (800) 369-RIDE (7433), ext. 109, or at kkarvonen@narha.org.

The North American Riding for the Handicapped Association, located in Denver, Colorado, was formed in 1969 to promote equine assisted activities for individuals with special needs. At over 700 member centers, more than 38,000 children and adults find a sense of independence through involvement with horses. More than 29,000 volunteers, 2600 instructors, 5,800 therapy horses, and thousands of contributors from all over the world are helping people at NARHA centers. For more information about NARHA visit http://www.narha.org or call 800-369-RIDE.


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