Equine-Assisted Counseling

"Hi everyone, I’m Shelly and if you don’t know me, you know someone like me.  Someone whose life is affected every day by a trauma they have experienced and the mental images or sounds or smells that go with it.  But someone who needs what this place has to offer.

 For me it was the death of my mom.  She died in a surgical fire and the things I saw that day turned my entire world upside down.  Every single day I was haunted by the pictures in my head.  I had so much anger…and guilt….and grief.  It seemed like everything I saw or heard led right back to that hospital room and those images.  I was not ok.  I had heard of Paws before but I didn’t realize all of the counseling options they had to offer.  But at the end of a very rough day last year I just felt like I needed to come here and see if they could help me.  I started with the Equine Assisted Counseling, cuz horses are awesome!  I needed that interaction and the comfort that comes from working with horses and sometimes you just need to talk to a horse.  But then I transitioned to the EMDR Therapy to deal with all those images and flashbacks.  I’ll be honest, I really can’t explain why EMDR works but I can sure tell you it does.  It’s like it took those images that were in the very front of my brain - all day every day, in full Technicolor – and filed them back where they should have been.  They don’t cause that same strong physical reaction that they used to.  They’re no longer triggered by simple everyday things like they were.  They’re not gone, they’re just not in charge anymore; it's like they’re grayer.  I can tell you without a doubt it changed my life for the better and I’m so grateful for this place and the counselors here.  There are a lot of people out there like me.  And we need to make sure they can get the help they need. "   


                                                   A client of both Equine Assisted Counseling and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing



"This hula hoop and the memories that fill and surround it, remind me every day of the miracles that God has done in my life. I remember when I first came to Paws just a little over a year ago, I was so broken and had lost all hope. But God put two of the most precious people in my life who were there for me when no one else was and they stayed by my side through so much. They were the first people in my life that built me up instead of tearing me down. They helped me to see that I was worth so much more than anything I had ever thought defined me. They helped me to find my strength and to realize that I can do anything! Today, I have hope and an amazing future ahead of me. I am free to be me. I am afraid of what would have happened to me had God not put them in my life when He did. For that reason, I will always be grateful. To everyone at Paws, thank you for being a part of my miracle. Stan, Melode, Jackie, Katelyn, and how could I ever forget my Ranger. I love you all so very much and you will always have a special place in my heart."     Equine Assisted Counseling Client




"My son is diagnosed with ADHD and Anxiety. After a failed stint in Play Therapy elsewhere, we chose Amy Andra at Paws for Reflection Ranch in hopes the change in atmosphere would work better. Not only did my son agree to exit the car when we arrived but he was eager to be there every chance he had! A far cry from the previous meltdowns we experienced each visit. Amy was not only compassionate to my son but empathetic to me. She partnered with me in strategies at home and school that we are still successfully using. My son has made great strides thanks to the love and support received from Amy and the other staff members. Melode and Stan have created a wonderful and healing environment for all who enter. I will recommend Paw for Reflection and Amy to any family seeking therapies."    

       Parent of Play Therapy Client



"This program was a God send for us! My gender dysphoric child and I got the help we needed that we could not have found elsewhere, especially in a small town. The ranch is so serene and peaceful it was like I was in therapy when I was just waiting for my child."         Charmaine M.



"We had an absolutely great experience at Paws for Reflection Ranch. The staff is very friendly, well-spoken, and professional with parents and children. There was never a moment I felt uncomfortable with the therapy animals. It is apparent that they are highly experienced and up to date in their training. I am so thankful to Melode and her staff for what they have done for my family and how they are serving their community."         Elizabeth Willis



"The minute you come on to the property you feel such a sense of peace! So many wonderful events and programs are offered through the Ranch by truly dedicated and caring individuals!"  Cheryl B.







Child centered play therapy focuses on the child's innate ability to grow and heal. It allows the child the freedom to make decisions and choices using their own natural language of play. The therapist is a facilitator tracking and processing with the child , providing an environment where the child feels safe to explore. Child centered play therapy is a means to assist the child with many things including self-esteem, independence, trauma, self-regulation, anxiety, depression, grief, social skills, and other issues they may experience in their world. They may choose to partner with one of our small animals or miniature equines, adding the elements of relationship and empathy-building to this mode of counseling.

A word from our Clients...

Play Therapy

 Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

The Ranch offers a welcomed change to the hustle-bustle of every day life. Relax and watch the horses graze, or stroll along the Nature Trail. The natural environment provides an ideal place to quiet the mind and break down challenges. 

Equine Assisted Counseling (EAC) incorporates horses into a clinically based session. Guided through horse related activities by a therapist and an equine professional, the client increases awareness of their thoughts, words, and actions. With immediate feedback from the horse and guidance from the therapists, the client to recognize dysfunctional behavior patterns, define healthy relationships, improve communication, build problem-solving skills, and develop coping strategies. 

All natural horsemanship activities are performed on the ground and no horse experience is necessary. Safely guided by the team, the client will observe herd dynamics both inside and outside of their pasture. The client will then work with the horse he/she feels a connection to, beginning a relationship together. From grooming to round pen exercises, the bond will take shape, with the counselor and equine professional translating the horse world to the client's world at home and work.

Our professional therapists will help you design a counseling program that is right for you and/or your child. ​ Working alongside equine professionals and our animal team, sessions will be structured to help you reach your goals, to assist you on your way to optimal mental health.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from PTSD symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences.  Studies show that people using EMDR therapy can experience the benefits of psychotherapy more quickly that with other therapies.  EMDR therapy shows that the mind can in fact heal from psychological trauma much as the body can heal from physical trauma.  A study funded by HMO Kaiser Permanente found that 100% of single trauma victims and 77% of multiple trauma victims no longer were diagnosed with PTSD after only six 50 minute sessions.  EMDR therapy is recognized by the American Psychiatric Association, World Health Organization, and Department of Defense as an effective form of treatment for trauma.

EMDR Therapy is an eight-phase treatment.  Eye movements (or other bilateral stimulation) are used during one part of the session.  After the clinician has determined which memory to target first, he asks the client to hold different aspects of that event or thought in mind and to use his eyes to track the therapist's hand as it moves back and forth in the client's field of vision.  As this happens, for reasons believed by a Harvard researcher to be connected to the biological mechanisms involved in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep,  internal associations arise and clients begin to process the memory and disturbing feelings.  The net effect is that clients conclude EMDR therapy feeling empowered by the very experiences that once debased them.   Their wounds have not just closed, they have transformed.



Animal-Assisted Counseling

Traditional Counseling

A variety of small animals, as well as miniature equines and goats, can be used in establishing rapport, safety, and security with the client. Utilizing animals in experiential activities can provide a positive and safe environment for self-exploration. Through these activities, clients can gain better insight into their behaviors in their social environments outside of session.

Counseling Services