Innovative mental health study underway at Starlight Therapeutic Riding Center


Horses like Comanche (pictured) will partner with local teens as part of mental health study.

Texas Tech Associate Professor of Psychology, non-profit research effects of equine-assisted therapy 

MIDLAND, Texas (Nexstar)- Starlight Therapeutic Riding Center, Inc. and Texas Tech Associate Professor of Psychology, Stephanie Moses, Ph, D. are collaborating in an Equine Facilitated Therapy study to learn more about the effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy on children with anxiety. 

Starlight Executive Director, Gina Friedman said the non-profit developed the program in response to new mental-health needs brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Over the past year, there has been an increase in the number of inquiries by families on behalf of individuals suffering from anxiety, stress, and other mental-health concerns,” Friedman said. “While we offer several horsemanship programs that are responsive to these needs, we are now launching a partnership with a licensed, certified mental-health practitioner to study the benefits of EFT for those looking for a different approach to improve mental wellness.”

Friedman said that spending time outdoors in nature instead of sitting in an office across from a therapist is often more appealing to teens. 

“It can be an attractive option for an adolescent who is hesitant about traditional therapy,” Friedman said. “Being outside and interacting with the horses can motivate a young person to seek or agree to professional help. The services that we provide for individuals and their families within our community are non-traditional, unique, and powerful. Our goal is to create awareness about the benefits of EFT and give individuals who suffer from anxiety an alternative to traditional therapy.”

To learn more about therapy options, call 432-741-5773 or visit their website.

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