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KCRM Women's Center launches equine therapy program

Posted at 4:51 PM, Apr 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-19 19:04:58-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Horses are now being used as mental health aids for humans.

Equine therapy is taking psychology sessions out of the office and into the pen. 

It's a non-traditional, but promising type of therapy. 

"I've seen people go from suicidal to thriving in less time in horse therapy than talk therapy by far," said Beth Russell, director of the Kansas City Rescue Mission Women's Center. 

Russel is also an equine-facilitated psychotherapist.

Wanting to help more women heal from past experiences, she incorporated equine therapy into the center's weekly schedule.

"They'll do in-class learning about healthy relationships and boundaries and then we'll come out here and this is the lab if you will, this is the experience," said Russell. 

Shalise Williams has been coming out to visit with the horses since Russell started the program in January. She was homeless for more than a year, living out of her car before moving into the KCRM Women's Center

"After my mom passed away, things kind of got rough for me and I kind of like, just tumbled down in a spiral of stuff," said Williams. 

Williams said when she first met her favorite horse, Cloud, she was working through a number of issues. Instead of having to discuss and relive certain situations, Cloud is helping her move past them. 

"It's such a bonding experience that if you've never had it, oh my gosh, it's amazing." said Williams. 

It's a connection Russell said is helping women at KCRM approach healing more effectively. 

"One session with a horse is worth a month of sessions in talk therapy," said Russell. 

Serenity Life Resource Center provides the equine therapy to the KCRM Women's Center.